Authorizes the Board of Dental Examiners to issue a temporary license to a dentist practicing under a safety net dental provider organization, and allows these dentists to be eligible for the same level of government reimbursement as regularly licensed dentists. (HB1431 HD1)
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TWENTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2003
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO dental licensing.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that, based upon the 1999 findings of the department of health, dental health division, among public elementary school children statewide, children in Hawaii have tooth decay (dental caries) rates that far exceed those documented on the United States mainland. At an average of 3.9 decayed teeth per child, the rate of dental caries among children ages five through nine in Hawaii is 2.1 times the last published United States national average of 1.9. Hawaii's dental caries prevalence rate is among the highest in the nation. The rates among Hawaii's native Hawaiians (4.2) and Filipinos (5.5) exceed the national average by 2.2 and 2.9 times, respectively. It is a crisis we can no longer ignore.
Poor oral health among children and vulnerable adult populations is among the most widespread and pressing public health problems identified in Hawaii. Dental disease, including tooth decay, is Hawaii's silent epidemic. Affecting most Hawaii residents at one time or another, tooth decay causes pain, loss of productivity at school and work, expensive treatment, and the risk of severe, even life-threatening infection.
Moreover, the legislature finds that a contributing factor to Hawaii's poor oral health is that licensed dentists are reluctant to perform services in underserved areas, especially the neighbor islands. They are also reluctant to serve underserved populations, specifically the low-income class and immigrants.
The purpose of this Act is to improve the quality of oral health in the State and improve accessibility of dental services by allowing qualified dentists holding a temporary license to practice in a safety net dental provider organization.
SECTION 2. Section 448-12, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§448-12 Temporary license. (a) The board of dental examiners may issue, without examination, to any resident or nonresident otherwise qualified to be examined, a temporary license to practice dentistry in the employment of the State [
or], any county[ ,] or any legally incorporated eleemosynary dispensary or infirmary, private school, or welfare center[ .], or to practice dentistry solely under the auspices of a safety net dental provider organization; provided the dentist graduated from an accredited dental school and there are no disciplinary actions pending or other unresolved complaints against the dentist in any state or territory of the United States.
The temporary license shall authorize the person to whom the license is issued to practice dentistry exclusively and without any restrictions while engaged in that employment [
and]. A person holding a temporary license shall be entitled to the same level of reimbursement from government sources, including medicaid, Med-QUEST, and other such sources of reimbursement, as a holder of a permanent license. A temporary license may be granted for a period of three years, which may be renewed. The temporary license shall be in force until the earliest of the following occurs:
(1) The date the person leaves the employment authorized under the temporary license;
(2) The [
three hundred ninety-sixth calendar day following the date of issuance of the temporary license;] date upon which the license period and any renewals expires;
(3) The date on which the results of the licensure examination taken by the person under this chapter are posted by the board; or
(4) The date on which the board revokes the temporary license;
provided that the board may revoke the temporary license at any time for cause.
No person who has failed an examination shall have the benefit of any temporary license.
(b) The board of dental examiners may issue, without examination, to any resident or nonresident [
licensed in another state and otherwise qualified to be examined a temporary license to practice dentistry while in the employment of the department of health to provide dental services to Hansen's disease sufferers. The temporary license shall be valid for a period of three years or until the first board examination after the conclusion of the three-year period and only while the person to whom the temporary license is issued is in the employment of the department of health and works under the general direction and supervision of a duly licensed dentist. The temporary license shall not be renewed and shall be reviewed annually by the board of dental examiners for continuance and shall be subject to revocation and suspension as provided in section 448-17. The temporary licensee shall not be eligible for examination by the board of dental examiners while the temporary license is in effect.] a license to practice dentistry; provided that the person:
(1) Has a license to practice dentistry issued pursuant to the laws of another state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia;
(2) Has not had the person's license to practice dentistry revoked or suspended in this State, any other state or territory of the United States, or the District of Columbia;
(3) Has not been refused a license to practice dentistry in this State, any other state or territory of the United States, or the District of Columbia;
(4) Is not involved in or does not have pending disciplinary action concerning the person's license to practice dentistry in this State, any other state or territory of the United States, or the District of Columbia; and
(5) Works exclusively as an employee of a safety net dental provider organization or for an agency or in a private practice located in a federally designated dental health professional shortage area; provided that the dentist serves uninsured patients without regard to the ability to pay, uses a sliding fee scale based on the federal poverty level, and does not restrict the number of patients covered by medicaid in the practice.
(c) A license granted under this section shall be deemed to be a license that makes its holder eligible for at least the same level of reimbursement from medicaid, Med-QUEST, or other government reimbursements entitled to other regularly licensed dentists working in similar circumstances.
(d) For purposes of this section, "safety net dental provider organization" means an entity that is a federally qualified health center whose services include dental care."
SECTION 3. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2003.