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Bills of Interest July 2015
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July 2015

CSPD follows a number of bills under consideration by the state legislature which potentially impact pediatric oral health. Updated information on the legislative progress of these initiatives may be found in the Advocacy, Legislation, and Regulatory Matters (ALARM) section of the CSPD website. Members having questions or wishing to comment on these or any other legislative matters are invited to contact CSPD’s Public Policy Advocate, Dr. Paul Reggiardo, at reggiardo@prodigy.net


AB 178 (Bonilla) Dental Practice Act: RDA Clinical Examination for Licensure.

CSPD Position:
Support 

This bill would place a moratorium until July 1, 2017, on the administration of a practical examination as a requirement for RDA licensure and would require the Dental Board of California to determine by that date whether a practical examination is necessary to demonstrate the competency of registered dental assistants.
Comment: The pass rate for the practical examination last year dropped precipitously from over 90% to barely over 20% as a likely result of greater examiner calibration and resultant attention to clinical (typodont) performance. A revised practical examination / practical examination process appears necessary. Until that examination process is defined, the immediate removal of the practical examination requirement will allow a continued licensure mechanism.


AB 179 (Bonilla) Dental Board of California: Sunset Review. 

CSPD Position:
Watch

This bill extends the operation of the Dental Board of California to January 1, 2020, provides statutory authority to the DBC to increase licensing and other fees for dentists and all categories of registered dental assistants, and provides a correction to the Dental Practice Act concerning unprofessional conduct.
Comment: As amended, the bill places a statutory cap, effective 1/1/16, on the fee for the initial and renewal of the dental license at $650, which would increase to $800 1/1/18. Current licensure fee is $525. The bill also fixes the lack of exemption for dentists regarding unprofessional conduct in the treatment of spouses or equivalent relationships.


AB 366 (Bonta)  Medi-Cal: Annual Access Monitoring.

CSPD Position:
Support

As amended, this bill would require an ongoing assessment by an independent entity of access to care and the adequacy of provider payments under Medi-Cal and, to the extent funding becomes available in the future, rate increases for services, provider types or geographic areas for which inadequate rates are identified.
Comment: As introduced, the bill, which was largely symbolic, called for immediate repeal of prior year Medi-Cal rate reductions and for future reimbursement rates increases.


AB 502 (Chau) Dental Hygiene Practice.

CSPD Position:
Support

The bill would authorize the creation of a Registered Dental Hygienist in Alternative Practice (RDHAP) corporation and provide the Dental Hygiene Committee of California with the same type of corporate regulatory and oversight authority as other boards of the California Department of Consumer Affairs.
Comment: Earlier versions of the bill would have eliminated the requirement that for an RDHAP to continue seeing a patient after 18 months a prescription from a dentist or physician is required and would have allowed a RDHAP in a designated Dental Health Professions Shortage Area (DHPSA) to continue independent practice if that designation was removed.


AB 648 (Low) Virtual Dental Home Implementation Project.

CSPD Position:
Support

The bill would establish a grant program using public and private funds to pilot the virtual dental home model of community-based delivery of dental care to underserved populations in community clinics and school programs. The new Office of Oral Health would develop the program under the direction of the recently-appointed state dental director.  
Comment: The bill calls for an appropriation of 4 million dollars from the general fund to be used for start-up elements like training, equipment and technical support.

AB 880 (Ridley-Thomas) Free-Clinic Practice by Final Year Dental Students.

CSPD Position:
Oppose Unless Amended

The bill would permit the practice of dentistry by a final year student, without compensation or expectation of compensation, in a free clinic or health fair setting under the supervision of a licensed dentist with a dental school faculty appointment after meeting certain disclosure and supervision requirements.
 Comment:  CSPD feels further amendments are necessary to provide additional safeguards regarding student supervision by clinical faculty, informed consent for treatment of a minor patient by a dental student, clarification of a qualified postdoctoral advanced education program, and increased responsibility by the student’s dental school (including assurance of liability protection), and has submitted draft language to the author and to the bill’s sponsor (7/13/15)

SB 203 (Monning) Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: Safety Warnings.

CSPD Postion: Support

Outcome: Died in Senate Committee

This bill would require a warning label on most sugar-sweetened beverages sold or dispensed in the state reading “Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”
 Comment:  The bill mirrors SB 1000, introduced by Senator Monning last year, which failed passage by the Assembly Health Committee after passage by the Senate.
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