A private dental practice in Dallas, Texas, has agreed to pay $10,000 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights to settle potential violations of the HIPAA privacy rule. The HHS reported that the OCR completed its investigation of a complaint by a patient who alleged that the practice disclosed on social media the patient’s last name and the details of the patient’s health condition.
A medical center in St. Petersburg, Florida, is the first to face enforcement action by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for failing to promptly provide a patient with medical records. The HHS Office for Civil Rights announced early this year that it would vigorously enforce its Right of Access Initiative that allows patients to receive copies of their medical records promptly and without being overcharged.
A dentist who writes controlled substance prescriptions can now review CURES (Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System) for patients for whom the dentist is listed as a prescriber. This ability to review the list is useful when a dentist has misplaced a prescription pad or has had a prescription pad stolen or when a dentist suspects someone is misusing their DEA number.
Health care facilities that produce pharmaceutical hazardous waste are required to properly manage the disposal of that waste according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Among other provisions, the EPA’s finalized rule issued in July prohibits facilities from pouring pharmaceutical hazardous waste down sink drains or toilets, a practice known as “sewering.”
A new safety sharps product, the Verena Solutions SimpleCAP, is available to dentists and can be purchased from most major suppliers. Dental practices are required by the Cal/OSHA bloodborne pathogens regulation to regularly evaluate the appropriateness of using safety sharps with the goal of reducing needlesticks and other “sharps” injuries that can cause exposure to bloodborne pathogens.
Most dental facilities that have not installed an amalgam separator to comply with a rule published in June 2017 by the Environmental Protection Agency must install an amalgam separator by July 14, 2020. CDA Practice Support’s resource “Amalgam Separator Requirement — Q&A” was recently updated to reflect recent developments and can assist members with compliance.
Dentists have an ethical and legal obligation to do no harm and to protect the health of their patients. But what happens when their patients put others at risk? Such is the dilemma faced by some practice owners who have called The Dentists Insurance Company’s Risk Management Advice Line with questions regarding their obligation to treat unvaccinated patients. At the core of this dilemma is the return of a disease previously believed to have been eliminated: measles.
At the direction of the 2018 CDA House of Delegates, CDA has been working with the Dental Board of California to better understand the scope of practice for general dentists as it relates to the use of cosmetic agents such as Botox and dermal fillers. The house directed CDA to take this action to clear up confusion that arose from the creation of the Elective Facial Cosmetic Surgery permit as it relates to the scope of cosmetic services general dentists may provide.
Beginning June 1, the National Supplier Clearinghouse began sending letters to Medicare-enrolled dentists notifying them that a surety bond of at least $50,000 per office location may be required to initiate or continue their Medicare enrollment as a supplier of durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthodontics and supplies. Prior to 2019, dentists were exempt from this rule.