Dentist Disability Service Program


The purpose of the Dentist Disability Service (DDS) program operated by the Columbus Dental Society (CDS) is to provide participants with basic office coverage in the event of an extended absence due to disability, family emergency or death. DDS is designed to help CDS members who are general practitioners in a solo setting. DDS may be made available to specialists in the future.

The goal of DDS is to provide an office with coverage for up to three ½ days per week in order to help keep patients in the affected dentist’s office until such time as the dentist returns or the practice is sold. Coverage under DDS will last for approximately up to 90 calendar days. This is subject to review every 30 days and will commence approximately one to two weeks after notice of the disability, family emergency or death is received by CDS. An affected dentist must be registered as a volunteer with the DDS program prior to becoming a recipient of aid under the program.

Eligibility and Applicable Absences

Only CDS members in good standing holding an active, unrestricted Ohio dental license are eligible for participation in the program.

Coverage through the DDS program is intended for an unexpected, extended absence due to disability, family emergency or death. Disability is defined as any medically substantiated long-term illness or injury in which an affected member is expected to be unable to perform any function of his or her dental practice for a minimum of 21 days. Planned or elective illness or injury is not a permissible purpose under the program. Heart attacks, strokes, and broken limbs are examples of permissible purposes. The DDS Committee shall make determinations on all questions regarding qualifying disabilities under the DDS program. Routine pregnancy leave does not qualify for office coverage. However, complications concerning pregnancy either before or after delivery may qualify as a disability.


The main goal of DDS is to keep the affected dentist’s office operational and available to respond to patient emergencies. Volunteers will provide hygiene supervision, preventive care, routine restorative care and other routine dental procedures that are able to be completed in a single patient visit. Volunteers will also respond to emergencies and make referrals to appropriate specialists when necessary. New patients can be scheduled with the understanding that they will be re-examined at no charge when the affected dentist returns to the practice.

Volunteer coverage will be available for up to three ½ days per week during normal working hours and will provide services for up to 90calendar days or less if the affected dentist is able to return to practice. Length of time for volunteer coverage is determined at the sole discretion of the DDS Committee.

Any fees collected for dental services provided under this program shall remain with the affected dentist’s office. This is a volunteer program.

Responsibility of Volunteer Participants

All participants must be a member in good standing of the CDS and hold an active, unrestricted Ohio dental license to become a recipient of aid or act as a volunteer participant in the DDS program. All volunteers agree to schedule time in the affected dentist’s office at the rate of one half day per 30 day period for up to a 3 month period without compensation. Volunteers understand and agree that their own practice schedule may need to be rearranged to meet staffing needs at the affected dentist’s office. Volunteers will not be asked to provide services they do not normally perform in their own office. The volunteer dentist will complete and sign the patient’s progress note. Volunteer dentists must carry malpractice insurance and are responsible for the supervision of staff and provision of dental care while working in an affected dentist’s office. Only the patients of the affected dentist may be seen in the affected dentist’s office as part of this program.

Responsibility of the Affected Dentist and Staff

The office personnel for the affected dentist must contact the CDS executive director for DDS protocol, an application for DDS aidand a list of volunteer dentist participants. The office personnel will contact the volunteers and coordinate scheduling in accordance with DDS protocol. All business functions, including insurance billing, will be provided by the office personnel (see attached guidance for tips on handling these issues.) Adequate staff, equipment and supplies must be provided for volunteer dentists. Office personnel shall provide a list of specialists and dental laboratories for referral purposes. A volunteer dentist is not required to utilize these entities but must avoid any referrals considered to be self-dealing.

All patients treated by a volunteer dentist must be notified in advance of their identity. All volunteer dentists must be notified in advanced of the scheduled procedures for each patient. Office personnel must keep accurate records of the volunteer doctors who worked and the days and times of their service. Additionally, office personnel shall report to the DDS Committee any volunteer dentists who refused to participate or created difficulty in scheduling.

Insurance and Billing Issues

All participants must adhere to the attached guidance on interacting with third-party payer, billing and collections issues related to in office aid. Specific guidance on these issues is available through the Ohio Dental Association.

Program Operation and Oversight

Members of the CDS Membership Committee shall appoint a subcommittee of its members to serve as the DDS Committee. The DDS Committee is responsible for oversight of the DDS program and may make determinations on all aspects of the program, including but not limited to: eligibility for participation, qualifying disabilities, compliance with DDS protocols, and whether adequate efforts are being made for an affected dentist to secure a replacement dentist or transition a practice, if applicable. The DDS Committee may terminate a volunteer dentist, affected dentist or other participant from the DDS program for cause, including but not limited to: the failure to comply with DDS protocol, failure to provide volunteer services when requested, failure to maintain liability insurance, failure to maintain an an active unrestricted dental license and failure to remain a member in good standing of the CDS. The DDS Committee may reinstate a participant who has been terminated at its discretion.

The process of receiving aid is initiated by notifying the CDS executive director. The DDS Committee will review and consider the application for assistance. The DDS Committee may deny applications for aid for cause including, but not limited to, failing to comply with the stated purpose of the DDS program. There will be a one to two week waiting period after the application has been received and approved to allow for notification of all participating volunteer dentists. For this program to be viable, it needs to have at least 30 volunteers.

Document Dated for Reference: January, 2015

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