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Ohio State Dental Board Implements Teledentistry Rules

Ohio law defines “teledentistry” as the delivery of dental services through the use of synchronous, real-time communication and the delivery of services of a dental hygienist or expanded function dental auxiliary pursuant to a dentist’s authorization.[1] The law requires a dentist who desires to provide dental services through teledentistry to apply for a teledentistry permit from the Ohio State Dental Board (“OSDB”).[2]

Pursuant to the mandate under Ohio Revised Code 4715.436, the OSDB is implementing the following teledentistry permit rules and requirements (to be set forth under Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 4715-23). These regulations, which were subject of a public hearing on February 19, 2020, are effective on May 30, 2020.

  1. A dentist wishing to provide services through teledentistry must apply to the OSDB. There is a $20 application fee for a teledentistry permit. The application must contain the following: (1) The address where dental services will be provided through teledentistry; (2) The name and license or registration number of each dental hygienist or expanded function dental auxiliary who will perform dental services through teledentistry when the dentist is not physically present and the location where they will provide these services; and (3) A description of all equipment used to establish and maintain synchronous, real-time communication during the provision of dental services through teledentistry. Any description must include manufacturer name and model number. Other general permit requirements are found in OAC 4715-23-01
  1. Requirements on the proper and approved continuing education courses for a teledentistry permit can be found in OAC 4715-23-02
  1. When services are provided under a teledentistry permit and the patient is not examined in person by the authorizing dentist, informed consent must be obtained before the placement of interim therapeutic restorations or the application of silver diamine fluoride. Guidelines on how to obtain informed consent are detailed in OAC 4715-23-03
  1. Equipment requirements (which can be found in OAC 4715-23-05):
    • All equipment used to provide dental services through teledentistry must comply with HIPAA, HITECH, and all other applicable state and federal laws and regulations.
    • All equipment used for providing dental services through teledentistry must be utilized in a space dedicated to providing dental services through teledentistry. This space may also function as a space in which dental services are provided when the dentist is physically present.
    • Authorizing dentists must ensure that all data connections and storage (including cloud storage) used in the provision of dental services through teledentistry are encrypted.
    • High definition intraoral cameras must be used to provide dental services through teledentistry.
    • A microphone must be utilized to allow verbal communication between the dentist, patient, and staff during the provision of dental services through teledentistry.
    • A digital x-ray machine capable of producing high definition images that can be immediately transmitted to the authorizing dentist during the patient’s appointment must be available while providing dental and diagnostic services through teledentistry.
    • All patient records must be transmitted, transported, handled, stored, protected, and secured in compliance with HIPAA, HITECH, as well as all state and federal laws and regulations. 
  1. An authorizing dentist who is providing dental services through teledentistry may not at any time have more than a total of three dental hygienists and expanded function dental auxiliaries working under the dentist’s authorization. An authorizing dentist must remain attentive and available to attend to the health and safety of all patients regardless of whether the dentist is physically present or not physically present with the patient. If an authorizing dentist supervises any dental hygienist or expanded function dental auxiliary on the same day as the authorizing dentist authorizes any dental hygienist or expanded function dental auxiliary to provide dental services through teledentistry, the authorizing dentist should not have more than a total of: (1) four dental hygienists practicing clinical hygiene under the supervision of the authorizing dentist, or three dental hygienists providing dental services through teledentistry; or (2) two expanded function dental auxiliaries practicing as expanded function dental auxiliaries under the supervision of the authorizing dentist, or three expanded function dental auxiliaries providing dental services through teledentistry, except that the total number practicing under the supervision of the authorizing dentist shall not exceed two. Additional authorization regulations are found in OAC 4715-23-06.

Please contact a BMD healthcare attorney if you have any questions regarding these new teledentistry regulations and how you may utilize them within your practice, any general telehealth rules, or any other general healthcare questions.

DOL Proposes New Rule Regarding Independent Contractor Status - But How Will the Election Affect Its Future?

On September 22, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a new proposed rule regarding employee and independent contractor status under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The full text of the proposed rule is available here. The rule's drafters intend to reduce uncertainty and enhance the precision and predictability of the long-standing "economic reality" test, which currently relies on a multifactor balancing test.

Major Change to Franklin County, Ohio Eviction Process: Landlord Testimony Required

Although there is currently a nationwide temporary halt on all residential evictions through December 31, 2020 in place, the eviction process in Franklin County – which processes the highest number of evictions in the State of Ohio at approximately 18,000 a year – recently changed significantly.

UPDATE: Governor Dewine Signs HB 606 Granting Short Window of Immunity from COVID-19 Personal Injury Lawsuits

The Ohio General Assembly, in Am. Sub. H.B. No. 606, is in the final stages of passing a law that will prohibit lawsuits seeking damages from COVID-19. This includes injury, death, or loss to person or property if the lawsuits are based, in whole or in part, on the exposure to, or the transmission or contraction of the coronavirus, unless the defendant in the lawsuit acted intentionally or recklessly. In circumstances where this immunity does not apply, H.B. 606 prohibits such claims being aggregated and brought as a class action.

Revised Department of Labor FFCRA Guidance, Effective September 16, 2020

In response to attacks on the legality of the Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Final Rule regarding the Families First Coronavirus Act (“FFCRA” or the “Act”), which took effect in April 2020, the Department of Labor issued new guidance on Friday, September 11th to formally address ongoing questions and concerns related to the COVID-19 legislation.

FCC Adds $198 Million to Strengthen Telehealth for Rural Healthcare Providers

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has added an additional $198 million in funding to its Rural Health Care Program. These funds will be used to increase broadband services and telecommunications to bolster telehealth/telemedicine services for rural healthcare providers. Funding for rural healthcare providers was initially capped at $605 million in 2020, but the added funds will now allow the FCC to provide over $800 million to eligible providers.