Keeping politically informed is vital to your professional success. CDA helps members stay up-to-date about licensing, compliance, mandates, workers’ compensation and other issues, including action at the Dental Board of California.
The effective date for employers to begin providing mandatory sick leave to all employees is July 1, 2015, or on the first day of employment for new employees – whichever is later. CDA Practice Support is still monitoring developments and interpretations of the California Paid Sick Leave Law (AB 1522).
Legislative proposals from the California Dental Hygienists’ Association (CDHA) that would significantly change the supervision and practice of hygienists’ were released at a December meeting of the Dental Hygiene Committee of California (DHCC), and they appear very similar to the changes proposed by CDHA earlier this year that CDA strongly opposed.
Dental students in California will soon officially be able to graduate with a “portfolio” model exam process over the course of their final year in dental school. In November, the Dental Board of California finalized the regulatory process of approval for the portfolio examination model and California’s dental schools can now begin the implementation process (it is not a requirement for the schools, however). This is the first licensure-by-portfolio-exam program in the nation.
Dentists need to ensure that their practices are prepared for dental procedure code changes that go into effect Jan. 1. There are 73 code changes, including 16 new procedure codes. The ADA released the latest version of the Current Dental Terminology (CDT) Codes earlier this year.
There are many advertising options for dental practices to use as a way to keep current patients and bring new patients in. One way dentists can do this is through a patient loyalty program where patients earn “points” in exchange for gift cards or other rewards for keeping appointments, brushing and flossing regularly, etc. Dentists participating in such a program must make sure they are staying within the guidelines of the law and CDA ethical standards, however. The CDA Judicial Council reminds dentists that problems arise in a patient loyalty program when points are earned and prizes are given for patient referrals.
California's data breach notification law will undergo amendments effective Jan. 1, 2015. Some reports have indicated that AB 1710 will require companies to provide credit monitoring in the event of a data breach, which is not true. It does state, however, that when companies experience a data breach and decide to offer credit monitoring to affected individuals, they must offer the services at their own expense and for no less than one year. The breach notification must also contain all material information individuals need to take advantage of the offer.
CDA continues to keep members informed on the latest information available on the Ebola virus. Most recently, the American Dental Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention, released a webinar titled "Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and Its Implications for the Oral Healthcare Community." The educational webinar, which consists of four chapters, is meant to ensure the dental community is informed on this emerging disease, and prepared to appropriately address it.
Now that hydrocodone combination products, such as Vicodin and Norco, have been reclassified as Schedule II drugs, CDA Practice Support has been receiving inquiries about how to prescribe these drugs electronically. Dentists can no longer call or fax prescriptions for these drugs to pharmacies because Schedule II drugs have more restrictions.
The ADA is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide resources, including an upcoming webinar, for dentists regarding infection control and the Ebola virus. The ADA, along with the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP), is developing a webinar focusing on infection control procedures in the dental office. The ADA and CDA will provide members with information on the webinar as soon as it is posted.
Dentists are reminded that starting Oct. 6, hydrocodone combination products such as Vicodin and Norco are classified as Schedule II drugs and require Schedule II authority to prescribe. CDA reminds dentists to visit the DEA’s website
to ensure their registration is up-to-date. Pharmacists will be checking the website for proper authority before filling Schedule II prescriptions. Dentists whose registration status is not updated should anticipate receiving pharmacists’ phone calls prior to filling prescriptions for Vicodin, Norco or similar products.
CDA's advocacy efforts have resulted in Gov. Jerry Brown signing CDA's sponsored bill, AB 1962, which establishes standardized requirements for dental plans to disclose how they spend patient premium dollars, along with three other CDA-supported bills. Read a breakdown of these legislative actions.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released new proposed standards to cut discharges of dental amalgam to the environment under the Clean Water Act. The proposed rule would require all affected dentists to control mercury discharges to Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs). Specifically, it would require them to cut their dental amalgam discharges to a level using amalgam separators and the use of other "Best Management Practices," according to an EPA statement.
Beginning Oct. 6, hydrocodone combination products such as Vicodin and Norco will be rescheduled as Schedule II drugs instead of Schedule III. Dentists with a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration that does not include Schedule II authority will have to change it to continue prescribing/refilling certain pain-relieving medications for their patients.
The morning meeting for a dentist and their team helps outline the patient care for the day, but it also can serve as a good time to remind staff about the importance of protecting patient information. A CDA Presents lecturer, and information security expert, lays out a list of topics dentists can discuss with their staff to make sure the practice remains HIPAA compliant.
The DEA reschedule becomes effective Oct. 6, 2014. This change will impact how hydrocodone products are prescribed and dispensed in California because the requirements for prescribing and refilling C-II drugs are more restrictive than for C-III medications.
Despite concerns expressed by the ADA and other stakeholders, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has finalized a rule to classify hydrocodone combination products such as Vicodin and Norco as Schedule II drugs instead of Schedule III. The reclassification, effective Oct. 6, will impact dentists with a Schedule III DEA registration because they will have to reregister with the DEA for Schedule II authority to continue prescribing/refilling certain pain-relieving medications for their patients.
The subject of medical waste disposal has been one of the more frequent questions from members coming into CDA’s Practice Support lately. The state Department of Public Health (DPH) has posted a new chart on dental medical waste disposal. While the law hasn't changed, the new chart can help dentists who are curious about the storage time for different types of medical waste.
It was a week before Christmas last year when the practice of Robert Meaglia, DDS, in Rocklin was broken into through the back door. The burglars took everything they could get their hands on, from toothbrushes to a Gameboy. But the most important thing they stole was the main unencrypted computer that had all of Meaglia’s patients’ information on it.
CDA is aware of a letter that has been posted on Facebook and circulated among members suggesting that a recent Dental Board of California disciplinary action, initiated against a dentist who does not hold the required permit for the cosmetic use of Botox and derma fillers, is actually a broad prohibition on cosmetic dental procedures. This is not true and the alarm it is generating is unwarranted.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently released new safety information about multiple-use dental dispensers. The new information, released in July, includes a definition of multiple-use dental dispensers, information on the importance of infection control and a series of do’s and don’ts.
Dentists should make sure that their air tanks and compressors meet the requirements under state law. California requires a permit for any air tank that is 1.5 cubic feet in volume or larger, or when the safety valve is set greater than 150 psi. A permit is valid for five years. Dentists can have inspectors from the Cal/OSHA Pressure Vessel Unit conduct safety checks on tanks and compressors for the purpose of issuing and renewing permits.
Whether a dentist is building a new practice or renovating his or her current office, there are specific laws that come in to play for office design. One of the most important things dentists should consider is the state and federal requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (AwDA). Outside of the AwDA, state codes affecting office design include electrical, fire, mechanical, building, plumbing, energy and historical building codes, according to CDA’s Legal Reference Guide.
The Department of Health and Human Services recently released its "Annual Report to Congress on HIPAA Privacy, Security and Breach Notification Rule Compliance." In the report, the HHS detailed the number of complaints received for the calendar years 2011-12, the number of complaints resolved, the number of subpoenas or inquiries issued and more. The HITECH Act requires HHS to conduct the report, which found that during 2011 and 2012, the U.S. Office for Civil Rights (OCR) received 19,476 complaints, which was a significant increase over each respective year prior.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced that it would be conducting a second phase of HIPAA audits. The audit program is intended to be primarily for information gathering, but the HHS Office for Civil Rights will assess whether to open a separate compliance review in cases where an audit indicates serious compliance issues. Therefore, it is important that dental practices have a current HIPAA risk analysis in place; that their Notice of Privacy Practices is current and acknowledgement of receipt forms are maintained.
CDA has recently learned that the Dental Board of California has begun taking disciplinary action against dentists who are providing Botox/Dysport or derma filler treatments to patients for cosmetic purposes or teaching courses to dentists to do so.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched a new security risk assessment tool that helps dentists and other health care professionals be in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). It is important for dentists to conduct a security risk assessment as required by HIPAA to protect their patients' information and minimize liability risk. A recent review of HIPAA enforcement actions reveals that entities were penalized for not having a documented risk analysis or for having an incomplete analysis.
With the receipt last month of final approval from the state Office of Administrative Law, initial and biennial dental licensure fees will be increasing for the first time since 1998, effective July 1, 2014. A group of ancillary fees that is linked by law to the biennial renewal fee will be increasing as well.
A CDA member’s dental practice lost a computer server to thieves last year, and is now responding to U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) inquiries on that practice’s HIPAA compliance. CDA has been assisting the practice in this process, and is offering members recommendations so they can avoid a similar situation.
It is important for dentists to conduct a Security Rule risk analysis as required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to protect their patients’ information and minimize liability risk. A recent review of HIPAA enforcement actions reveals that entities were penalized for not having a documented risk analysis or for having an incomplete analysis.
To ensure compliance with state radiation regulations, dental practices, clinics and dental educational programs should obtain the recently updated Radiation Safety in Dental Practice
There has been a lot of speculation around the use of Windows XP as it relates to HIPAA violations. Many IT consultants are saying if dentists’ information systems are operating on Windows XP after April 8, 2014, they are in violation of HIPAA. The HIPAA Security Rule does not specifically require the use of operating systems that are manufacturer-supported so continuing to use Windows XP after April 8 is not in itself a HIPAA violation.
As a precaution to the risks of liver injury, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says dentists and other health care professionals will need to limit the amount of drugs they are prescribing to patients that include acetaminophen.
From the latest on HIPAA compliance to how to optimize a Yelp profile, CDA has it all. As we enter 2014, let’s take a look back at the top 10 resources CDA’s Practice Support Center provided dentists in 2013.
The Dental Board of California recently began a large-scale enforcement effort against the unlicensed practice of dentistry in Southern California. The Southern California Unlicensed Dentistry (SCUD) Task Force was established by the Dental Board's enforcement unit and has been investigating numerous reports of unlicensed dentistry being offered in a wide variety of settings.
Some states may have more rigorous emergency kit requirements, and The Dentists Insurance Company advises dentists to check with their state dental board or dental association for specifics on what to include beyond ADA recommendations. TDIC advises all dentists to know when, how and in what dosages to administer drugs included in their emergency kits. Stocking emergency medications but lacking the training to administer them appropriately can be a liability.
As a result of a recent announcement from the Dental Hygiene Committee of California (DHCC), licensed dentists and registered dental hygienists are each now required to provide specified public notification that they are licensed and regulated by the Dental Board of California and the DHCC, respectively.
Recent Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) amendments to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) expanded patient rights with regard to their health information and added a breach notification rule for covered entities, such as dentists, to follow.
The combination of a HIPAA deadline and vendor communications about the deadline recently sent many CDA members to the Internet and telephone to find out what assistance they could get from the Practice Support Center. Callers had specific questions on the requirement to securely transmit protected health information to other dental practices.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration has announced that it is no longer moving forward with a legislative package to reform the Proposition 65 warning notice and litigation laws. CDA had been the only health care organization invited to participate in stakeholder discussions with the administration on this issue.
Many CDA members are calling the CDA Practice Support Center and asking what they need to include in their medical emergency kit. Most dental offices have one emergency kit to be used for both employees and patients. For employees, Cal/OSHA does not specify what should be in a medical emergency kit, just that the employer have documentation that a physician approved the kit.
The federal OSHA's deadline for dentists to train employees on the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s adopted revisions to the Hazard Communication Standard is Dec. 1. Compliance with other elements of the rule must be met by June 1, 2016.
The Dental Board of California has released for public comment its proposed regulations that would raise the initial licensure and biennial renewal fees for dentists from $365 to $450, the maximum currently allowable by state law. The public has until Sept. 23 to provide written comment (or in-person comment at a public testimony-only hearing to be held on that date in Sacramento).
With the legislature entering the final month of its 2013 session, CDA was an active participant in negotiations with the governor’s office, the legislature, and a variety of business, legal and consumer stakeholders in an attempt to improve the state’s Proposition 65 warning notice and litigation laws. Prop. 65 requires businesses with 10 or more employees to provide “clear and reasonable warning” if the product or business location may expose employees or consumers to a chemical known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.
The Sept. 23 compliance deadline for the omnibus rule/HITECH amendments to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is just around the corner. There are a couple educational options for dentists related to this subject.
New dentists have a lot to juggle and think about after graduating from dental school – one of the things that shouldn’t fall through the cracks is making sure they have the proper permits to dispense controlled substances and administer conscious sedation. When dentists become licensed, they automatically have the ability to write prescriptions for antibiotics, fluoride and other non-controlled substances such as Ibuprofen. When it comes to prescribing, dispensing and administering controlled substances, however, they must first register with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
The Legal Division of the California State Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) has released a legal opinion concluding that a contractual arrangement between a health care professional and an Internet marketing service (Groupon, Living Social, etc.) offering online discounts for medical services violates state law.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published the long-awaited final omnibus rule under HIPAA (Omnibus Rule) on Jan. 25, 2013. The rule implements the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) and requires that health care providers amend their Notice of Privacy Practices (NPP) and Business Associate Agreements to include new elements. The compliance date for the final rule is Sept. 23, 2013.
California employers have until Dec. 1, 2013, to train employees on the new hazard label elements and safety data sheet format required by the Cal/OSHA Hazard Communication Regulation. Cal/OSHA recently amended the state regulation to conform to federal regulation and the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). Employers also need to update their hazard communication plans.
CDA members should be aware that local sanitation agencies are sending surveys to dental practices asking about amalgam waste management practices. It is recommended that members review their protocols. The Practice Support Center’s website, cda.org/compass, has several resources available on amalgam waste.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the agency that enforces HIPAA, has clarified that unencrypted emails may be sent to patients who have been advised of risks and have consented to receive unencrypted emails. CDA offers a few suggestions to obtain patient consent to communicate via unencrypted email. Be sure to retain documentation with the patient record.
CDA will mail updated employment poster sets to local dental societies for distribution to members this month. Several state and federal agencies require employment posters to be conspicuously displayed at dental offices. Stay up to date with CDA’s set.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published the long-awaited final omnibus rule under HIPAA (Omnibus Rule) on Jan. 25. The rule implements the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) and amends provisions related to privacy, security, breach notification and enforcement in important ways.
The state Department of Justice announced that Atlantic Associates has implemented its online direct dispense reporting application for data submission to California’s prescription monitoring program, Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES).
From the latest updates on infection control regulation to a reference guide for all things legal as it pertains to dentistry, the Practice Support Center’s website, cda.org/compass has it all. Review the list of the Top 10 Compass Resources in 2012.
Despite strong lobbying from the ADA and other dental organizations, a 2.3 percent medical device excise tax is set to take effect on Jan. 1. Dentists should be aware, however, that the impact of the tax on dental practices is not entirely clear. The Internal Revenue Service has not yet published final regulations or provided guidance as to how it applies to dentistry. The tax may impact dental practices in the form of increased costs for purchasing supplies and equipment.
As of Nov. 28, dental practices are required to post a new notice to consumers. Business and Professions Code Section 138 requires the Dental Board of California, and other licensing boards within the state Department of Consumer Affairs, to require a licensee to post a notice that informs consumers that the licensee is regulated by the state.