Gov. Newsom Signed the Direct-to-Consumer Orthodontic Patient Protection Bill
Direct-to-consumer orthodontic patients will gain new protections when CDA-supported Assembly Bill 1519 becomes the law in January 2020. This article will help you understand the first of its kind in the nation, the new law will protect patients from DTC orthodontic companies that are putting profits before patients by taking potentially unsafe shortcuts to the accepted standards of care.
California is the first state in the U.S. to pass a law. This law aims to better protect patients who undergo direct-to-consumer orthodontic treatments, such as those offered by SmileDirectClub, by requiring x-rays and more before moving ahead with care.
See also: Is Medical Billing for Dentists Legal?
What is AB 1519?
This law is requiring dentists that provide orthodontics adhere to basic, accepted standards of care by reviewing recent patient x-rays before moving teeth. Clinicians also must provide the full names and license numbers of treating dentists to patients.
AB 1519 by Assembly member Evan Low (D-Campbell) extends the operation of the Dental Board of California and establishes greater transparency and fundamental consumer protections for patients who receive dental treatment via: telehealth.Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill into law on October 13.
Telehealth companies and dentists who use telehealth will also be required to provide patients with basic information about their treating dentists, such as the dentist’s full name and state license number. Brick-and-mortar dental practices already provide that same information to patients.
Finally, the bill allows patients to submit complaints to the Dental Board of California even if they have signed nondisclosure or arbitration agreements and will take effect on January 1, 2020.
The New Regulation was Criticized by Both SmileDirectClub and Newsom
SmileDirectClub said in a statement that the changes create arbitrary barriers to technological innovation, noting that no clinical studies or guidelines affirm the mandatory radiography or other equivalent bone imaging requirements outlined in the law.
“I am grateful to Governor Newsom for putting patients above profits. AB 1519, this year’s dental board sunset bill, helps ensure consumers are not recklessly injured by profit-hungry companies who engage in serious medical procedures without even the most basic examination.”Assemblymember Low, who represents a swath of Silicon Valley
The law was needed to protect patients from potentially serious harm according to the California Dental Association, which has advocated for the changes. Moving teeth without adequate diagnostic information can loosen or crack teeth, cause gums to recede, and cause teeth to fall out.
“AB 1519 ensures that telehealth advancements continue to develop in a thoughtful way that puts patient safety first and is as effective as an in-person treatment,”– CDA
The new regulation was criticized by both SmileDirectClub and Newsom. The sunset bill was intended to reauthorize the state dental board to monitor and regulate dental services in the state through January 1, 2024. Typically, this approach is often reserved for emergency policy changes or ones that may not require as much feedback from stakeholders.
“I will not look favorably upon any future regulatory sunset bills that include these provisions,”– Newsom in a statement.
SmileDirectClub appreciated the criticism, accusing lawmakers of trying to quickly push through the changes. The company stated that the bill will not prevent it from continuing to operate in California. The legislation will create “unnecessary hurdles and costs” to Californians who need care but struggle to afford it.
“Nothing in AB 1519 requires SmileDirectClub to cease or modify its operations, and nothing regarding teledentistry in this legislation can take effect until the board has given all stakeholders the opportunity to submit public comment and debate the merits of any proposed rules with clinically-based data — as the governor has requested in his signing statement,”– SmileDirectClub
SmileDirectClub agrees to reach its partners in the field to coordinate efforts so that a positive outcome for the industry and California consumers can evolve.
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