From dental groups advocating for mandatory vaccines to a significant court ruling against a dentist seeking to recover business losses from COVID-19, FYI brings you the most important policy update news.

Here are the five biggest stories from the past month:

1. Groups advocate for mandatory vaccines

Several dental organizations, including the American Dental Hygienists Association, the American Dental Education Association and the National Dental Association, are advocating for mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for oral health care workers, students and residents. The participating organizations issued a statement September 1. The American Dental Association was not among the organizations to sign the statement but “strongly encourages” all members to get vaccinated. On September 9, President Joe Biden mandated vaccines or weekly testing for all federal workers, businesses with over 100 employees and health care staff.

2. Dentists aren’t insured against COVID-19 financial losses, say high courts

COVID-19-related losses do not trigger insurance coverage for businesses, including dental practices, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on August 31. In the case, a Georgia-based dental practice filed a claim with its insurer to recover lost income after the business canceled dental procedures at the beginning of the pandemic. The Eleventh Circuit ruled that the incurred losses did not meet the qualifications of “physical loss or damage” required for a successful claim. 

The Eleventh Circuit is the second federal appeals court to make such a decision, joining the Eighth Circuit in its similar July 2 ruling in favor of the insurer.

3. ADA reviews CDT for use beyond claims administration

The ADA has created a new taskforce to enhance and reposition the CDT code for clinical documentation, administrative transactions and data exchange or interoperability.

“The advent of data analytics, the need to measure outcomes and the emergence of artificial/augmented intelligence all necessitate the repositioning of CDT for uses beyond claims administration,” said Randall Markarian, DMD, council chair and leader of the new taskforce.

4. California looks to protect health data by urging businesses to report breaches

California dental offices must report health care data breaches and comply with state and federal privacy laws, California Attorney General Rob Bonta reiterated in a bulletin written in response to a large number of recent unreported ransomware attacks.

Bonta stressed the importance of training staff on data security, maintaining a data back-up plan and using the latest security patches and virus protection software.

5. The ADA continues its push for dental coverage for all adults on Medicaid

The American Dental Association is pushing for dental care to become a required part of Medicaid coverage for adults in all 50 states. Along with nearly 130 organizations, the ADA sent a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to support and advance the Medicaid Dental Benefit Act.