CDA opposes dental hygiene committee proposals: 6 things to know

Currently, the Dental Hygiene Committee of California is undergoing a sunset review, an evaluation of the committee's performance to determine if it should remain active.

Here are six things to know.

1. The sunset review required the DHCC to submit a sunset report, an outline of the different actions the committee has taken since 2013. The review also includes policy change recommendations that address unresolved issues or problem areas.

2. The California Dental Association recognized the work put into its sunset report but objected to five of DHCC's policy recommendations.

3. The first policy change eliminated the need for direct supervision when administering local anesthesia and nitrous oxide analgesia. CDA responded by saying, "direct supervision of hygienists during local anesthesia and nitrous oxide analgesia procedures is a matter of patient safety and the highest level of care."

4. The DHCC also recommended to remove the 18-month prescription requirement for registered dental hygienists in alternative practice. CDA pointed out the inconsistencies this policy recommendation may cause.

"It is important that a patient receives a full diagnosis and treatment plant that comes only from an examination with a dentist," CDA representative said. "If a patient receives only hygiene care over an extended period of time, patients are at risk for undiagnosed oral disease."

5. The sunset review occurs every four years. Again, at this review, DHCC recommended a change of status for a committee under jurisdiction of the dental board to an independent group. This recommendation was tabled in 2014.

CDA responded by saying, "CDA appreciates the regulatory authority invested in the DHCC and believes the regulatory structure that exists between the DHCC and the dental board appropriately reflects the interconnected working relationship of dental team members who together ensure the delivery of comprehensive, high-quality dental care to Californians."

6. The official sunset review date is set for Jan. 1, 2019. CDA is focused on ensuring the review is designed to identify deficiencies in the licensing body's performance not resolve jurisdictional practice issues.

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