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Dental initiatives during COVID-19
September 1, 2020

This article is for dentists and oral surgeons caring for our members

Dental Blue is working hard to support you and your practice during this challenging time. We wanted to make sure you know about all of the efforts we launched during 2020.

Assistance with PPE costs

Earlier this month, we announced that we would provide Massachusetts-participating Dental Blue dentists an additional $10 or each Dental Blue patient (excluding Federal Employee Program and Medicare Advantage members) treated from June 1-August 31, 2020 to assist with the costs of personal protective equipment (PPE) as you return to practice.

Eligible providers do not need to take any action to receive this payment. We will review your claims history for dates of service from June 1-August 31. During the 4th quarter of 2020, we will send you $10 for each encounter with a Dental Blue patient in a single payment.

These payments will be outside of our normal claims process and will not count against members’ annual benefit maximum. To avoid delays in claim processing, please do not include CDT code D1999 or any other code for PPE when submitting claims.

Preventive dental visit time limits eased

In June, we eased time limits for preventive dental CDT codes to help you continue to serve patients who may have missed preventive dental services during the COVID-19 stay-at-home advisory. The changes to these services took effect on June 1, 2020 and will remain in place for most dental plans even after the state of emergency ends .

Billing for telephonic services

Since the start of the public health emergency, we have covered consultations by telephone or video (“virtual consultations”) between dental providers and their patients for all members who already have coverage for problem-focused exams (D0140). There is no cost share (deductible, copayment, or co-insurance) for these services. Note that the cost share is not waived for members of the Federal Employee Program.

  • Report virtual consultation services using CDT code  D0140 (Limited Oral Evaluation – Problem Focused).
  • Virtual consultations should be patient-initiated and related to a specific dental problem which would otherwise have required an in-person office visit.
  • In the patient’s chart, please document the problem that necessitated the telephone or video consultation and what you recommended to the patient. 

Billing for emergent care needs

In June, we suggested using CDT D1354 to bill for the application of a medicament to treat patients for advanced caries on a tooth where you may be otherwise unable to perform definitive care. For example, it could be used when you want to avoid treatment with a handpiece to minimize aerosol or for treatment plans that minimize patient appointment duration. Although this limited treatment doesn’t substitute for definitive care, it could provide your patient with interim care while helping to keep you, your office staff, and your patients safe.

CDT code Narrative
D0140 Limited oral evaluation—problem-focused. This code is suggested for reporting telephonic or virtual visits       
D1354 Interim caries-arresting medicament application per tooth

Blue Cross contributes to Massachusetts Dental Foundation’s COVID-19 Recovery Fund

Because we understand that the dental community in Massachusetts has been particularly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Blue Cross has committed to donate to the Massachusetts Dental Society Foundation’s COVID-19 Recovery Fund. This donation is designed to assist financially struggling dental practices in the Commonwealth and will help offset the additional costs for PPE required to keep their patients – our members – safe.