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Bills of Interest October 2015
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October 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 Board of California.

CSPD Position:
Watch
Outcome: Passed by the Legislature and Signed into
Law by the Governor

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, authorizes a moratorium on the RDA practical examination until the DBC conducts an assessment to determine if the practical examination is necessary and accurately measures the competency of registered dental assistants for licensure, 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. Another provision authorizes the Dental Board to conduct an independent review to determine on or before July 1, 2017, whether a practical examination is necessary to demonstrate the competency of registered dental assistants for licensure and to suspend the practical examination during the review process. This provision was originally included in another bill, AB 178, followed by CSPD, and amended in the closing days of the legislative session.


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

CSPD Position:
Support
Outcome: Died in the Senate (Appropriations Committee)

The bill would have required the Department of Health Care Services to obtain an independent annual report on access to Medi-Cal services (including dental) and would have required provider rate increases to the extent that reimbursement is found to be inadequate and funding provided in the annual budget.
Comment: As introduced, the bill, which was largely symbolic, called for immediate repeal of prior year Medi-Cal rate reductions and for future reimbursement increases. This version was equally symbolic in that the cost to collect and analyze data was estimated as being up to $1 million annually and the costs to general fund for increased provider rates was inestimable.


AB 502 (Chau) Dental Hygiene Practice.

CSPD Position:
Support
Outcome: Passed by the Legislature and Signed into Law by the Governor

The bill would authorize the creation of a Registered Dental Hygienist in Alternative Practice (RDHAP) corporate structure and provide the Dental Hygiene Committee of California with the same corporate regulatory and oversight authority as granted other overseeing entities by 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 private practice if that designation was removed, both of which were opposed by CDA and CSPD.


AB 648 (Low) Virtual Dental Home Implementation Project.

CSPD Position:
Support
Outcome: Held in the Senate for reconsideration next year in the second 2015-2016 session

This bill would establish the Virtual Dental Home Grant Program to expand the virtual dental home (VDH) model of community-based delivery of dental care to underserved populations in community clinics and school programs. The bill would create the California Virtual Dental Home Grant Program Account within the California Health Facilities Financing Authority Fund.  
Comment: Efforts to find funding for the bill resulted in the identification of an entity outside of the Department of Public Health, which was originally supposed to oversee the program. This raised administrative complexities for proper program administration that could not be resolved prior to the first session legislative deadline. The bill will therefore be held over to the second session which convenes in January.

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

CSPD Position:
Support
Outcome: Passed by the Legislature and Signed into Law by the Governor

This bill will allow the practice of dentistry by final year dental students without compensation or expectation of compensation in specified free clinic / health fair-type settings under the supervision of their dental school faculty after meeting certain disclosure and supervision requirements.
 Comment: Amendments to the bill 8/18/15, proposed by CSPD and accepted by the author and the sponsor (the Oral and Facial Surgeons of California) provided the necessary clarity of student supervision, liability protection, patient disclosure, and op-out provisions for the patient or the patient’s parent or guardian, missing from earlier versions, to garner CSPD support.
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