Thrive-Health Guide Southern West Virginia August 2020 - Page 24

Dr. Kevin Bailey says area dentists have assisted each other with concerns and needs since the beginning of Covid-19. “I’ve spent several thousand dollars on stuff that I wouldn’t have had before or that I never had,” Childress said. Bailey added that because of the way they have to stagger patients as well as clean after each one, the number of patients they can see daily has diminished. “Patient access to care has been diminished and that is a huge thing because when you’re used to seeing X amount of patients in your practice and taking care of them and when you’re at about 60 percent capacity of what you were before, that really diminishes the amount of patients that you can see and the care that they can receive,” he said. “That very much has been a big thing, and this is likely going to be our new norm for a year if not longer.” A saving grace to small businesses like these whose finances have been greatly affected by the coronavirus has been the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, which was part of the coronavirus stimulus package from the federal government and allowed businesses to take out a low-interest loan in order to cover payroll, rent or utilities. “We were able to get that on the second round of stimulus, and without it we would probably be on the verge of bankruptcy,” Bailey said. “Just on the mere point of being shut down for that length of time and trying to reopen and see the amount of patients that we are seeing ... it makes it difficult to make payroll and other monthly payments.” Bailey added that during the West Virginia stay-at-home order instituted in March, he had to lay off his entire office because dentists were allowed to see only emergency patients during that time per the order. “You always have emergency patients, but we were very limited on what we could do for them,” he said. “My whole office was unemployed because I had to lay them off and I would come in by myself with a patient, do the palliative care and advise them whenever we open back up and could get them in for further care.” Despite the difficulties, the main focus throughout this time has been the patients. “When you’ve got a group of professionals who are all on the same page and all striving to do the best thing for the patients 24 • THRIVE • AUGUST 2020