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Washington State Dental Association

DQAC & Leg. Update: 3/14/16

DQAC Update

The Dental Quality Assurance Commission (DQAC) is considering several rulemaking changes and is seeking input from stakeholders within the dental community.

First, a proposal is before DQAC that would amend section 246-817-550 & 560 of the Washington Administrative Code, which would move specific tasks performed by dental hygienists from close supervision to general supervision and add new tasks. Close supervision requires the dentist to be physically present in the treatment facility during the performance of a delegated task while general supervision does not.

If approved, dental hygienists would be allowed to administer head and neck exams, administer injections of local anesthetic agents, deliver oral antibiotic prophylaxis, and take impressions or digital scans without a dentist on-site.

Anyone wishing to weigh in on the proposed changes must submit comments or concerns directly to DQAC Program Manager, Jennifer Santiago at jennifer.santiago@doh.wa.gov by April 8, 2016.

DQAC has also filed a CR-101 Preproposal Statement for Inquiry for WAC 246-817-760: Moderate sedation with parenteral agents as WSR 16-06-105 on March 1, 2016.

The commission recently finalized changes to moderate sedation with parenteral agents with updated monitoring and equipment requirements. The Washington State Academy of Pediatric Dentistry was opposed to the previously proposed monitoring and equipment requirements because the rules did not provide alternatives or exceptions for sedating pediatric patients as this is a specialty. Pediatric dentists undergo specific training to treat a very unique patient population.

The commission did not include end-tidal carbon dioxide monitoring in the recent rule modification, but did provide an exception for beginning and ending blood pressure requirements to address the pediatric dentists' concerns. DQAC still believes these monitoring and equipment requirements are essential to the safety of all patients receiving sedation. The commission is still considering modifying WAC 246-817-760 to include specific requirements and exceptions for dentists when sedating pediatric patients consistent with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists 2011 “Guideline for Monitoring and Management of Pediatric Patients During and After Sedation for Diagnostic and Therapeutic Procedures.”

Beginning on April 1, 2016, the updated monitoring and equipment requirements for the administration of anesthetic agents for dental procedures will take effect. The adopted rules set minimum patient safety standards when administering minimal and moderate sedation, removes a duplicate statement requiring a trained individual to be present to monitor, and clarifies continuing education requirements.

Additionally, DQAC released its quarterly Newsletter earlier this month. DQAC also operates an interested parties listserv which emails subscribers important notifications on new dental laws, modified rules, and Commission meetings and actions. 

Should you have any additional questions regarding legal and regulatory issues, please contact Mike Walsh, WSDA's Government Affairs Coordinator, at michael@wsda.org or (206) 448-1914. 

Legislative Update 

The 2016 regular legislative session came to an end on Thursday, March 10. However, the Legislature did not come to a budget agreement, and so a special session began immediately afterward. 
 
All dental bills remain dead, as explained in a previous post, which you can read here. Continue to check the WSDA Blog for updates as the special session continues. 

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