Feldesman Tucker Memo re COVID-19: Re-opening of Dental Practices
This memorandum responds to your request for information regarding dental practice considerations for re-opening during the 2019-2020 novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic. Specifically, you requested information on whether a community health center risks its Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”) coverage or other malpractice liability if it begins to provide elective dental services when guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) advises that dental practices should only provide emergency dental services at this time. You also requested information on whether a health center violates Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules if it chooses to reopen and expand services beyond emergency dental care when federal and state guidance are in conflict. This memorandum summarizes the legal background by which these questions can be assessed as well as answers the specific questions posed.