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AAO Supports California Legislation Involving Teledentistry

California legislation has been introduced, AB 1519 (Low), involving teledentistry, which the AAO believes protects patient health and safety.  For the past several weeks, the AAO’s legal and advocacy department has worked with California lobbyists and engaged in numerous activities regarding this legislation, including offering certain amendments (some of which are reflected in blue font below).  The AAO offered these amendments because it believes they best protect the health and safety of dental patients.  The full bill can be viewed here.

Specific sections of the bill and the proposed amendments are set forth below:

1611.3.
The board shall require that the notice required under Section 138 includes a provision that the board is the entity that regulates dentists and dental assistants and provides the telephone number and internet website of the board. The board shall require the notice to be posted in a conspicuous location accessible to public view or and accessible electronically for patients receiving dental services through telehealth.

The AAO agrees with the provisions in Section 1611.3 because they merely require the same informative notice already posted with in-person services to also be similarly posted for patients using telehealth services.

1680.
Unprofessional conduct by a person licensed under this chapter is defined as, but is not limited to, any one of the following: . . .

(ah) The failure to review diagnostic digital or conventional radiographs or other equivalent bone imaging suitable for orthodontia by the treating dentist, prior to the initial diagnosis and correction of malpositions of human teeth or initial use of orthodontic appliances. appliances, to perform an examination pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 1684.5, including the review of the patient’s most recent diagnostic digital or conventional radiographs or other equivalent bone imaging suitable for orthodontia. New radiographs or other equivalent bone imaging shall be ordered if deemed appropriate by the treating dentist.

The AAO agrees with the purpose of this provision in the interests of patient health and safety, because this requirement would allow the treating orthodontist or dentist to understand what is going on beneath the gums (impacted teeth, bone loss, etc.), seek to avoid complications, and determine if patients are suitable candidates for orthodontic treatment.  As written, the AAO does not find provision (ah) requiring continuous rounds of x-rays throughout treatment, so any argument to that affect seems unsupported by provision (ah). Rather, and as the language clearly indicates, the treating orthodontist or dentist would only review radiographs or bone imaging “prior to the initial diagnosis and correction of malpositions of human teeth or initial use of orthodontic appliances . . . .” (emphases added).

1683.1.
(a) Any individual, partnership, corporation, or other entity that provides a service authorized under this chapter through teledentistry dental services through telehealth shall make available the name name, telephone number, practice address, and California state license number of any dentist who will be involved in the provision of services to a patient at any time prior to or during the rendering of services. services and when requested by a patient.
(b) A violation of this section shall constitute unprofessional conduct.

The AAO agrees with the purpose of the additions of provisions (a)-(b) because regardless of modality, the AAO believes patients should always be aware of this health provider information as it pertains to their treating doctors or potential doctors.

1683.2.
A provider of dental services shall not require a patient to sign an agreement that limits the patient’s ability to file a complaint with the board.

The AAO agrees with this provision because the AAO believes every California patient has the right to express his or her opinion on any dental issue to his or her state dental board and that right should not be abridged.

2290.5.
(a) For purposes of this division, the following definitions shall apply: . . .

(g) All laws and regulations governing professional responsibility, unprofessional conduct, and standards of practice that apply to a health care provider under the health care provider’s license shall apply to that health care provider while providing telehealth services.

The AAO agrees with this addition, which mandates that those requirements governing in-person care (professional responsibility, unprofessional conduct, and standards of practice) equally apply to providers providing telehealth services.

The AAO is in favor of AB 1519 (Low) and the foregoing amendments, and if you are a California member and also in favor, please consider sending your own message of support IMMEDIATELY to your State Senator (this legislation session ends THIS Friday, September 13, 2019). If you are a California member, please note that the AAO has sent multiple emails to California members regarding this legislation, and please feel free to contact us (Gianna Hartwig, at ghartwig@aaortho.org) if you have any questions.

Thank you for your AAO membership and support!