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Georgia AGD President recaps the Emergency Town Hall on March 20, 2020

April 2, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

I applaud you all for doing your part to help “Flatten the Curve.” If you still need help understanding this concept or want to reassure yourself that you are doing the right thing with Social Distancing”, this is a great explanation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fL-H0h9Pi_A

On March 20th, the Georgia Academy of General Dentistry held an Emergency Town Hall meeting to address many of the questions that our membership had regarding the current situation with COVID-19 and our offices. I’d like to thank Stuart Oberman, Grace Tillman, and Eric Morin for providing us with their expertise. The hour-long town hall went by very quickly, and the reality is that even a longer session would probably have still been too short. There was some great information shared, and I hope you were able to gain some clarity during this uncertain time.

These were some of my personal takeaways:

1.    Cash is King. You need to figure out how to keep as much cash at your disposal as possible. 

2.     Call your mortgage company and see if you can defer mortgage payments.

3.     Review personal finances and see where you can eliminate excess spending.

4.     Call your credit card companies and ask them to defer required payments and/or waive interest/fees.

 For practice owners:

  • Pay yourself in distributions rather than salary, stop 401k contributions; both of these strategies help preserve cash
  • Order only crucial supplies
  • Call your practice loan provider and ask for deferred payments and/or waived interest
  • Call your bank and see if you can increase your Line of Credit (LOC) or attain a LOC

Hopefully, some of these suggestions help you. I am not a financial advisor nor a lawyer so I can’t provide in depth guidance. If you have more legal questions after the town hall, look to see if the answer lies here: https://obermanlaw.com/covid-19-dental-practice-updates. If not, feel free to reach out to Stuart, Grace, and The Oberman Law Firm (https://obermanlaw.com). Their experience and loyalty to our profession is unmatched.

If you have more financial questions after the town hall, please reach out to Eric Morin and the Tower Leadership team (https://towerleadership.com). You can get help from them by texting “GUIDANCE” to 55444. Eric and his team are fantastic! They believe in Servant Leadership and will help you in any way possible during this unique time. Do not hesitate to reach out to him or Stuart if you need more help.

Things are changing rapidly and the latest development has been the passing of the Cares Act. The Cares Act includes a provision known as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP's primary function is to provide small businesses with funds to pay for payroll costs. I know there are a lot of legal and financial questions surrounding the Cares Act and the PPP. Therefore, this Friday, April 3rd, at 12:00pm EST the Georgia Academy of General Dentistry will be hosting a live Town Hall to provide answers to these questions on Facebook. Our legal experts, Stuart and Grace will be joined by Lauren Mansour from The Oberman Law Firm and Bill Morris, a dental-centric CPA with over 25+ years of experience. This town hall will help provide more clarity during this foggy time. 

During this stressful time, it is important to maintain a positive mindset. Fear is all around us and can definitely overpower us at times. We should all try to balance with care the desire to be informed versus the need to disconnect from our phones and computers. This weekend, I left the phone at home and took a long walk to the park with my wife and daughters. We took our time walking, playing with sidewalk chalk, climbing trees, and practicing “woof woof” noises with the 1 year old whenever we spotted a dog. In that moment, life came to a gentle pause. Admittedly, I cannot remember the last time I was able to fully focus on this important part of my life, and I must admit the degree of mental clarity I felt that day was captivating. I hope you have been able to experience similar moments also.

 Dentistry is taxing on the mind and body. I urge you, with this extra time, to make a choice to take better care of yourselves. One of my favorite self-improvement and healing ways is through yoga. It helps me both in a physical and mental sense. This is my favorite at home yoga channel:

https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene

The gyms may be closed but there are still ways to be physically active—get creative! I hope you choose to utilize this time to become a healthier, better version of yourself. We are definitely in the midst of an unprecedented storm. Hang in there and focus on the things that you can control!

M. Usman, Sajid, DDS 

2020 GAGD President