Info about state or federal regulatory proceedings

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The Root, May 2016

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The Root, April 2016

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The Root, March 2016

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The Root, February 2016

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The Root, November 2015

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Click here to see the November issue of The Root, your source for Dental Legislation, Regulation, and Advocacy published by the TDA.

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The Root, October 2015

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Click here to see the October issue of The Root, your source for Dental Legislation, Regulation, and Advocacy published by the TDA.

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Regulatory Updates

A reminder that the Opt-In/Opt-Out dates for Medicare have changed.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have announced an extension for the deadline to either enroll or opt-out of Medicare for providers prescribing Medicare Part-D drugs.  The new deadline is June 1, 2016, but the CMS encourages you to take action by January 1, 2016 to allow time for paperwork to clear.

The Texas State Board of Dental Examiners recently held Stakeholder Meetings to discuss possible changes to current rules pertaining to the advertising of a “specialty.”  Check the CADS website (www.capitalareadental.org) for the most up to date information on this topic.

The Austin City Council Public Utilities Committee met recently to decide the fate of a proposal to remove fluoride from the community’s water supply.  A full report will be made available on the CADS website and in the October issue of The Capital Star.

The EPA’s final rule on minimizing environmental mercury in the dental office is due next summer.  The rule will have an effective date of three years after it is finalized (summer 2019).  Under the proposed rule, dental offices (some specialty practices not included) will be required to install amalgam separators if their waste water is discharged to public treatment facilities.

Editor’s Corner July 2015

Legislative Wrap-Up

Sine Die!!!  No more, it is finished, until we meet again.  However you put it, the 84th Texas Legislature is over and the politicos amongst us have a little bit of a law making hangover. The good news is that now we get to watch a White House race that includes another Bush, another Clinton, and two Texas boys, Cruz and Perry…this should be fun.  Special thanks is due to the TDA staff, lobbyists, and dentists that worked tirelessly during the session to help keep our profession in our hands, and special thanks to the TDA staff for creating The Root in order to keep us informed of the action at the Capitol.  At press time, Governor Abbott still has many bills on his desk, and he still has the options to sign them into law, let them pass into law without signature, or veto, so we are not entirely finished.

Points of interest to dentistry from this session include a 25% reduction in the franchise tax, repeal of a $200 occupational license fee, reinstated funding for Dental Education Loan Repayment programs, and coordination of dental insurance benefits.  Dental Service Organizations are now required to register with the Secretary of State and pay a registration fee.  All dental hygiene expanded duty legislation dies along the way as well.  Below is a summary of the TDA supported or monitored bills that are awaiting signature by the Governor, as listed by the TDA in The Root.

HB 3024 – Coordination of Dental Insurance Benefits.  Requires state regulated insurance plans to coordinate primary and secondary insurers so that the secondary insurer pays the remainder of a dental claim up to, but not exceeding, 100% of the amount of the claim.

HB 1661 – Medicaid Billing of Substitute Dentists.  Mandates the Health and Human Services Commission to adopt rules ensuring the same standards apply to dentists as to physicians who bill the medical assistance program for services provided by a substitute dentist.

SB 550 – Dental Insurance Requirements for Child Support.  Requires a parent providing child support in a divorce to provide dental insurance for his or her minor children.

HB 2849 – Expanding Entities Offering Coronal Polishing Courses.  The committee substitute adds additional entities that may offer the coronal polishing course for dental assistants to include dental and dental hygiene schools accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.

SB 519 – Registration Requirements for Dental Support Organizations.  Requires dental support organizations to register with the Secretary of State and pay a fee. The substitute language exempts accountants, attorneys, insurance companies, and financial advisory companies from having to register under the bill.

SB 195 – Changes to Controlled Substance Registration and Requirements.  Relocates the “Prescription Access in Texas Program” and controlled substances registration from the Department of Public Safety to the Texas Pharmacy Board and changes certain requirements.

SB 200 – Restructuring the Health and Human Services Commission. Reorganizes the delivery of health and human services in Texas by partially implementing the Sunset Advisory Commission recommendations concerning the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) and by consolidating the five health and human service agencies.

SB 202 – Restructuring the Department of State Health Services. The committee substitute narrows the scope of the bill to just regulatory issues and allows the Department of State Health Services to focus on its core public health mission.

SB 277 – Abolishing State Healthcare Advisory Groups.  Of the 16 task force or advisory committees that were repealed in SB 277 as introduced, 13 will be repealed by the appropriate Sunset legislation. The committee substitute for SB 277 removes those 13 committees from the original bill and repeals the remaining 3 advisory committees from statute. The substitute also repeals the Interagency Task Force on Electronic Benefits Transfers.

HB 7 – Elimination of the Dental Occupations Tax.  Eliminates the $200 occupations tax dentists pay as part of their license fee.

The TDA Legislative Summary, mailed to all dentists around the first of July, will have a complete wrap up.  Now that session is over, it’s campaign time.  DENPAC needs your help, not just monetarily, but in time.  Attend your local representative’s fund-raisers.  If you contact DENPAC you can request a donation before you go.  Become a key contact if you have a personal relationship with a legislator.  Volunteer to deliver DENPAC funds to candidates at their fund-raisers.   But most importantly, become a DENPAC member.  Contributions will begin soon, so do it now.  www.DENPAC.org, or contact Leigh Ann Montague at denpac@tda.org for questions or candidate contributions.

Jonathon R. Kimes, DDS
Editor, CADS

 

Editor’s Corner May 2015

At press time, the 84th Texas legislature is still considering action on several bills that would extend the scope of practice for dental hygienists.  Senate Bill 571 and House Bill 1409 would allow hygienists to deliver local anesthesia, while Senate Bill 787 and House Bill 1940 would create a mid-level provider (MLP), known as a Dental Hygiene Practitioner.  Read more

Action For Dental Health Act of 2015