ADEA State Update

Governor of California Signs Teledentistry Bill into Law

(State Policy) Permanent link   All Posts

On September 27, Gov. Jerry Brown (D-CA) signed into law A.B. 1174. The new law adds teledentristy to a list of specialty health care services for which face-to-face contact is not required in order to claim reimbursement from Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program. The legislation will take effect on January 1.

According to a bill analyses/fiscal summary of A.B. 1174 by the Senate Appropriations Committee, the intent of the bill is to expand, statewide, components of a pilot program that has allowed allied dental professionals to provide additional functions in community settings as part of a telehealth-enabled dental care team. 

The pilot program referenced by the committee is the Virtual Dental Home system, developed almost five years ago by the Pacific Center for Special Care at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. The Center partnered with a number of funding organizations to implement a statewide demonstration project to bring oral health services to underserved populations using the Virtual Dental Home system.[1] These populations range from children in Head Start Centers and elementary schools to older or disabled adults in residential care settings or nursing homes throughout California.  

In addition, the new law also permanently expands the list of procedures that dental hygienists and certain dental assistants can perform without a dentist being present onsite. For example, the new law authorizes “specified registered dental assistants in extended functions, registered dental hygienists, and registered dental hygienists in alternative practice to determine which radiographs to perform and to place protective restorations,” as further detailed in the text of A.B. 1174.

[1] The Virtual Dental Home creates a community-based oral health delivery system in which people receive preventive and simple therapeutic services in community settings where they live or receive educational, social or general health services. It utilizes the latest technology to link practitioners in the community with dentists at remote office sites.

Duggan Dental