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2018

Dentists receive unprecedented $30M for student loan repayment in state budget

The 2018-19 state budget signed by Gov. Jerry Brown dedicates $210 million from the Proposition 56 Tobacco Tax revenue to Denti-Cal providers, a $70 million increase from last year’s amount. This effort is the result of years of activity to improve the Medi-Cal dental program and increase access to oral health care for the state’s 13.5 million Medi-Cal enrollees.

Employment separation in the dental practice: How to prepare

Every employee’s employment life cycle ends eventually, whether due to resignation, retirement, termination or other reason. In the dental office, any employee who separates should do so in a structured and professional manner with minimum disruption to the patients, staff and practice. Still, depending on what triggers an employee’s departure, separation can be an awkward situation for employers to navigate. Such discomfort can be lessened if clear policies and practices are in place.

FDA bans active ingredients from nonprescription antiseptic products

In a final rule issued by the Food and Drug Administration, 24 active ingredients used in nonprescription antiseptic products are “not generally recognized as safe and effective” (GRAS/GRAE) for use by health care professionals in health care settings or situations “due to insufficient data.” The ban applies to use of these ingredients in over-the-counter antiseptics and takes effect Dec. 20, 2018.

FTC complaint alleges collusion among top dental suppliers

Benco Dental Supply Company, Henry Schein Inc. and Patterson Companies Inc. were named in a complaint filed recently by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC alleges that the three dental suppliers — the nation’s largest — violated federal antitrust laws by conspiring to refuse to provide discounts to buying groups representing solo and small-group dental practices.

Mandatory checks in CURES take effect Oct. 2

The Department of Justice on April 2 announced that California’s Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System, also known as CURES 2.0, is ready for statewide use and that mandatory CURES consultation becomes effective Oct. 2, 2018. Beginning on this date, prescribers must check a patient’s prescription history in CURES 2.0 before prescribing a Schedule II-IV substance, with some exceptions.

Mandatory CURES consultation in effect Oct. 2

Beginning Oct. 2, all licensees authorized to prescribe, order, administer, furnish or dispense controlled substances in California must, with some exceptions, check a patient’s prescription history in CURES 2.0 before prescribing a Schedule II-IV substance, as CDA first reported in April. One notable exemption to mandatory CURES consultation that applies to dental care and that CDA helped secure is summarized here.

New and updated mandatory workplace postings from EDD, Cal/OSHA, others

All employers in California must meet workplace-posting obligations, which include printing and posting current mandatory notices where employees can see them. Employers should be aware of two required notices updated and released recently by the Employment Development Department and the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, as well as updated notices on transgender rights in the workplace, protection of safety and health on the job and more.

New opioid laws will affect dentistry in 2019 and beyond

Many bills were introduced over the past year to combat the opioid epidemic in California, as CDA previously reported. Here is an overview of CDA-supported legislation in the areas of e-prescribing, informed consent, interstate data sharing and prescription-pad requirements, that Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law in September and how these bills will affect the practice of dentistry.

Quick reference guide, more details on Denti-Cal adult benefit restoration in 2018

Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, adults enrolled in the Denti-Cal program are eligible for an expanded set of dental benefits. The Department of Health Care Services on Nov. 9 issued a special provider bulletin to clarify the dental services that providers may render, bill and be reimbursed for by Denti-Cal in 2018, including scaling and root planing, partial dentures and posterior root canals.

RDA written and RDA law and ethics exams to be combined

On May 24, 2018, the Registered Dental Assistant Written and Registered Dental Assistant Law and Ethics examinations are expected to launch as a single combined exam. The Dental Board of California and the Dental Assisting Council in a December 2016 meeting agreed to take this action to “ensure that the combined examination is legally defensible and meets the requirements of Business and Professions Code Section 139.”