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NYSDA's Response to the NYS Education Department's Opinion on COVID POC Testing by Dentists

The New York State Dental Association is disappointed to learn of the NYS Education Department Office of Counsel’s opinion that COVID-19 point of care testing[1] is not within dentists’ scope of practice. We strongly disagree and plan to take action immediately.

We are equally disappointed that it took the Education Department close to a year to respond to our initial inquiry of May 2020. We asked for clarification because when dentists called the Education Department inquiring whether CLIA-waived POC testing was available for dentists, their response was “no.” NYSDA disagrees with this interpretation and brought its concern to the attention of the governor’s office. Gov. Cuomo and the NYS Department of Health agreed with NYSDA.

At this time, the governor’s Executive Order #202.61, which is currently set to expire in April, lists dentists as one of the professions that can perform the POC testing, as long as the test is Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) waived and they have received certification and a CLIA waiver from NYSDOH. You can find step-by-step guidance for point-of-care COVID-19 testing in a dental office setting online at nysdental.org/testing. Note that this Executive Order acknowledges that dentists already operate and perform CLIA-waived clinical laboratory tests and is not a new authorization for dentists doing so. It simply requires expedited reporting of test results.

 

Excerpt from Executive Order #202.51:

Subdivision 1 of section 579 of the Public Health Law is modified to the extent necessary to require immediate reporting (not more than 3 hours) of results of COVID-19 and influenza testing by additional clinical laboratories, including those operated by a licensed physician, osteopath, dentist, midwife, nurse practitioner or optometrist who is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or Department of Health to administer a point of care COVID-19 test and registered with the Department of Health as a physician office laboratory, in accordance with section 576-c of the Public Health Law and Section 58-1.14 of Title 10 of the NYCRR; provided further as it relates to COVID-19 testing, containing information pertaining to attendance and employment in school as required by the below directives.

 

Now that we finally have the opinion from the State Education Department in writing, NYSDA intends to challenge it. We are currently determining the best way to do so. In the meantime, the governor’s Executive Order remains in effect, and dentists who have a CLIA waiver and are administering FDA, EUA CLIA-waived tests, can continue to do so until the order is either extended or expires in April. We will keep you informed.

 


[1] Point of care COVID-19 testing is the rapid testing of COVID-19 with a nasopharyngeal swab.

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