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Washington State Dental Association

WSDA and DOH revise new dental x-ray rules

In January 2009, the Department of Health notified Washington-licensed dentists that weekly film processing tests would be required on all non-digital x-ray machines beginning Jan. 1, 2010. Under the rule, processing tests would need to be documented and kept for review by DOH staff.

WSDA President Dr. David Houten, Past President Dr. Dan Middaugh, and Public Affairs Manager Bracken Killpack meet with DOH staff to raise concerns about the costs of implementing a weekly testing program and the necessity of requiring a film processing testing program in dental offices that have not shown evidence of producing x-rays of poor diagnostic quality. Depending on which film processing test is used, testing equipment could cost as much as $2,000 in addition to the costs of exposing x-rays for weekly testing.

The WSDA suggested a revision to the rule to mandate weekly film processing tests (for a limited amount of time) only for dental offices that were determined by DOH investigators to be making images on film of poor contrast and density. This proposal was met positively by DOH staff.

DOH has announced that it plans to revise the current dental x-ray rules and revise the weekly film processing test mandate. The WSDA will track this process and inform dentists on how to voice comments about the rule.

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