A message from ODA President Dr. Sharon Parsons about ER diversion

There has been confusion about various proposals for an ER Diversion plan for dentists during the current emergency situation. It is the ODA’s position to support the current plan (as outlined below) which is to utilize ALL DENTAL OFFICES as the first point of contact for patients to ensure that dental patients do not present to hospital emergency rooms. This is why the ODA continues to advocate with state policymakers that dental offices must remain open for emergencies during this state of emergency.
The current plan includes the following:
  • Dentists form a critical part of the health care team and are essential personnel.
  • All dental offices should be on call for emergency dental services to either take care of absolute emergencies or direct the patient to appropriate providers.
  • All dentists should have the list of specialists in their area that are on call for emergency treatment.
  • Any patient that arrives at any ER (emergency room) or Urgent Care center will be triaged at entry and directed to call their dentist.
  • Any dentist who is contacted will determine the best approach for their patient to get care.
  • The dentist/specialist will address the emergency and provide appropriate treatment and follow-up instructions.
  • We hope to have multiple locations in every large metropolitan area – with specialists (oral surgeons, endodontists etc.) on call to treat emergencies of those patients without a dental home.
  • Patients without a dental home will be provided the locations where emergency dental care is available.
We will be reaching out to local dental societies and others in the major metropolitan areas to put a list together of offices and clinics prepared to treat dental emergencies of those patients who do not currently have a general dentist of record.
We believe this process will prevent the over-crowding of ERs with dental emergencies and provide a source of appropriate care and follow-up.
ODA leaders have also been in communication with state officials and the OSDB regarding the possibility of a contingency plan if the existing protocols and procedures in use now are deemed insufficient during the projected height of the pandemic in the coming weeks. We believe it may be premature to engage that plan now but are preparing in the unlikely event the need arises.
Dr. Sharon Parsons
ODA President