Duval County

Some Jacksonville-area businesses starting to add COVID-19 surcharges onto bills

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Action News Jax is finding some local businesses have added COVID-19 surcharges to customers’ bills.

A local mother said she found it at her children’s dentist’s office in Jacksonville.

“I don’t feel that I’m required to pay that,” Corina Buck said. “How am I responsible for that?”

A Michigan restaurant has implemented a $1 “COVID Surcharge.”

The Jacksonville mother who said her children’s dentist office is requiring a new fee for patients showed us a receipt of $20, which is $10 for each appointment.

“It’s helping us be safe, but we shouldn’t be held accountable for that,” Buck said.

Action News Jax reached out to Buck’s children’s dentist at Pediatric Smiles on Southside Boulevard. Reporter Elizabeth Pace spoke to one of the owners, Dr. Staci Suggs, a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist and a Diplomate of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

She said they have added a new copayment for PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for $10 per appointment. She also said they have gone to extensive measures to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our patients, parents, and staff.

In a statement, Dr. Suggs said in part, “Trying to reopen a practice with limited amounts of PPE available is quite difficult at this time. To absorb the losses of our office being closed for seven weeks, I have first and foremost taken a personal pay cut, laid off several of my staff, and have made adjustments in pricing (as recommended by the American Dental Association).”

The American Dental Association has urged third-party payers to change their fees to account for PPE. More can be found here: https://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2020-archive/april/ada-advocates-that-third-party-payers-should-modify-fee-schedules

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