Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra (D-Los Angeles) announced in late April that his legislation intended to permanently place into law various aspects of the state-sponsored Virtual Dental Home (VDH) pilot project will be held until next year to allow time for further clarification of its details.
AB 1174 was introduced as a result of conversations surrounding the VDH pilot project being conducted under the auspices of the state Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD). The pilot project has been operated under the direction of Paul Glassman, DDS, Director of the Pacific Center for Special Care at the UOP Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. Now in its third year of testing, the VDH project involves dentists using teledentistry technology and allied dental health professionals to provide initial X-ray services directly in community settings. Additionally, through record transfer and dentist diagnosis, dentists determine what care can be provided on location by allied dental personnel and which patients are in need of the more complex care that only a dentist can provide.
AB 1174 seeks to make permanent the elements of the VDH project that were part of OSHPD’s Health Workforce Pilot Project #172. Based on the project, the bill would allow registered dental hygienists (RDHs) and registered dental assistants in extended function (RDAEFs) to determine patients’ need for radiographs based on established protocols and to place interim therapeutic restorations (ITRs) under the diagnosis and direction of a dentist.
With the pilot project nearing the end of its three-year private funding stream, Assemblymember Bocanegra introduced the bill in an effort to move the program forward in response to discussions with Glassman and other interested parties. The bill was passed by the Assembly Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee on April 16 and referred to the Assembly Health Committee, where it will stay for the remainder of this year while discussions continue on issues related to the duties, training and supervision levels for the allied professionals working under the teledentistry model.
The Government Affairs Council will be discussing AB 1174 at its June 7 meeting. CDA does not have a position on the bill pending further discussion.