We made it. On May 29, Governor Abbott signed into law SB 313, the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners Sunset Bill, giving a sigh of relief and a promising sunrise to our profession until 2029. It is by no means a perfect bill, but we can live with it. Not much has changed since its first referral out of committee, but since it has finally passed, it’s time to review. Keep in mind that the actual bill only reads the changes and amendments to the Dental Practice Act. As of this writing, the latest version of the Dental Practice Act (DPA) hasn’t been published. There are enough changes that we all should read the new version of the DPA in its entirety. Please visit the TSBDE website (www.tsbde.texas.gov) for the updated version. As a licensed dentist, you will also receive an email update from the TSBDE. On to the changes:
- The TSBDE will now only consist of 11 members; six dentists, three hygienists, and 2 public members (previously, 15 members; eight dentists, two hygienists, and five public members). The outcome of this change is obviously that our rules will now be influenced to a higher degree by the hygienists. Probably not a bad thing looking forward, but it does potentially open the door for the special interest hygiene groups to push their agenda…less objection to independent hygiene practice, hygiene anesthesia, etc.
- One no longer must be of good moral character to be issued a license. If you are mean, you can now become a dentist.
- The TSBDE can now adopt rules to change the issue/expiration dates of our licenses. The idea is that they will adopt rules that create multi-year licenses to reduce the burden of license processing on the Board. This will potentially make it easier on us as well, only having to renew every two years instead of every year. This will be left up to the new Board.
- The board has been given the authority to change the number of CE hours required for license renewal. As of now, it is assumed that they will retain the current 12-hour requirement, but this too could change if the Board so wishes.
- Anesthesia: this is a big one, so please read the new DPA and rules that will be developed. In short, delivering any type of anesthesia in the office will be more highly regulated. New license and education requirements, new required protocols, new emergency preparedness standards, new Board inspection requirements, etc.
You may now be required to submit to a mental or physical evaluation in order to maintain/renew your license.
Dental Assistant Registration: The new law states that unless registered by the TSBDE to do so, an assistant may not make radiographs or monitor the administration nitrous oxide. However, the new law allows the Board to create rules, as it sees fit for public safety. This means that unless the Board established new rules relating to coronal polishing and sealants, there is no law requiring licensure for these tasks.
So there you have it. Several bills of interest didn’t make it out and are unlikely to be revisited during any special session. Dental hygiene local anesthesia and serving alcohol in the dental office to name a few.
Of particular interest, The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PMP) legislation was recommended across the board for all health licensing agencies by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission. The result was a stand-alone bill—SB 316—that died along with numerous other bills due to parliamentary maneuvers at the end of the session. However, the text of SB 316 was rolled into the Texas State Board of Pharmacy’s Sunset Bill—HB 2561, which did pass. The compliance timeline was extended until September 1, 2019…so more news to follow on that one.
By Jonathon R. Kimes, DDS