March 31, 2020
Today, Governor Abbott extended his Executive Order No. GA-08 by issuing Executive Order No. GA-14. EO GA-14 extends the agency’s work from home status, as well as other provisions, from an end date of April 3, 2020 to April 30, 2020. However, provisions of Executive Orders GA-09, GA-10, GA-11, GA-12, and GA-13 have not been extended at this time.
As a reminder, Executive Order GA-09, issued by Governor Abbott on March 22, 2020, remains in effect until April 22, 2020. EO GA-09 mandates that licensed health care facilities must postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary. The goal is to prevent the spread of COVID-19, while limiting the number of patients being seen at emergency facilities and hospitals.
At this time, dental offices are not mandated to close. Dental offices may stay open to see patients for emergency procedures only. Patients in pain and/or suffering from infection/abscess would fall under the executive order provision that states “a patient who without immediate performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences.” Violation of executive orders could lead to potential fines and even jail time for those who do not comply.
If you know of a dental professional who is continuing to perform non-essential procedures, please file a complaint by clicking here.
Additionally, TSBDE has received several questions related to teledentistry. Dentists in Texas are not authorized to practice teledentistry because of established legal requirements such as Rule 108.8(c)(2)(C), which requires “documentation of the findings of a tactile and visual examination of the soft and hard tissues of the oral cavity.” Remember, teledentistry is regulated by state statute and board rule, not associational recommendations. Please note – Texas currently does not have any rules that would permit teledentistry.