We have heard a range of responses on our addition of a "personal protection equipment" fee. I want to personally address some of the negative feedback we've heard that this is "bad customer service", "we are profiting from the pandemic", "we should be able to absorb these costs", or "don't you keep everything sterile anyway?".
Anyone who has spent any significant time at our office or with me, knows that one of my primary goals when I started Twin Falls 6 years ago was to create a dental office that treats patients like family and makes the entire process as comfortable and easy as possible. Every decision I've made since then has been to further that goal while maintaining a high level of care for you.
The Covid-19 pandemic forced some difficult decisions on me. We have had to remove many of the things that make your experience more comfortable. The addition of the "PPE fee" was my most difficult decision because I know that it comes off badly. No one wants to be charged an additional fee on top of what they are already paying, especially when so many people are hurting financially. I understand that.
Prior to the pandemic, we maintained a high level of sterilization and disinfection in our office and you may wonder why additional measures are necessary. The Covid-19 virus is unique in it's combination of contagiousness, airborne transmission, morbidity, and lack of effective treatments. Measures that were effective and reasonable for almost any other infectious disease are not when it comes to Covid-19.
These are just some of the things we have done or are currently doing to help protect you during your visit with us.
All of these procedures have a substantial cost and we believe that a per visit fee is the fairest way to share this cost. We are currently charging a $15 fee per visit. Our actual costs are closer to $20-$30 per patient visit depending on what we are doing. We make no profit on this fee and will remove it once conditions allow.
You may also wonder why some dental offices don't seem to be charging these fees. There are two reasons. Some dental offices have simply added a percentage on to their fees to make up for this difference. You may not see the additional costs, but they are there. It is unlikely that these fee increases will be rolled back when the pandemic is over. Secondly, some dentists are able to absorb these costs for the time being. These are usually dentists who have been in business for a long time and don't have the same debt load that younger dentists like myself have. The vast majority of revenue from the dental office goes toward paying staff salaries, paying off student loans, and paying off debt from building this office. If we were to try to absorb losses of $20-$30 a patient without sharing some of this cost, we would quickly go out of business.
This PPE fee is the only way I am able to keep the office open while maintaining a high level of care and safety for both you and my staff. Those are my main priorities at this point in time.
We are hoping for a return to normal in the near future and we will remove the fee at that time.