CDA-sponsored bill allows dentists to obtain registration required to perform rapid in-office COVID-19 tests
Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to sign CDA-sponsored legislation that gives California dentists permanent authority to provide influenza and COVID-19 vaccines and obtain state registration required to perform COVID-testing. 19 fast in the dental office.
AB 526, written by Assembly Member Jim Wood, DDS (D-Santa Rosa), overcomes two significant hurdles for California dentists managing patient care, especially during the ongoing pandemic.
First, it allows them to independently prescribe and administer influenza and COVID-19 vaccines in accordance with federal immunization schedules published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Second, it allows dentists to obtain the California Laboratory Field Services license to perform dispensed tests, such as rapid point-of-care COVID-19 tests, which would not only protect dentists and their staff, but could help dentists to comply with COVID-19. testing requirement under the state’s public health ordinance that went into effect Aug. 23.
The Legislature passed the bill on September 8 as emergency law, meaning it will come into force as soon as the governor signs it. His signature deadline is October 10 for bills from the current legislative session.
Bill codifies DCA waiver allowing dentists to provide COVID-19 vaccines
Many California dentists who have completed the required training from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been administering COVID-19 vaccines on a temporary basis since the Consumer Affairs Department issued a waiver in January to increase the number of eligible vaccinators during the period. public health emergency.
As the CDA stated in a letter requesting the support of the Legislature: “Dentists are well equipped to administer vaccines because they regularly perform injections in particularly sensitive areas of the mouth… and have extensive training in microbiology. , autoimmune response, general anatomy, pharmacology and IV. “
By codifying the DCA waiver and federal PREP law, AB 526 authorizes dentists to prescribe and administer FDA-approved or authorized influenza and COVID-19 vaccines to persons 3 years of age and older. The bill also clarifies that CDC vaccine training will count toward a dentist‘s continuing education requirements.
Bill clears way for dentists to perform rapid COVID-19 tests in dental offices
The AB 526 also allows dentists to obtain the appropriate state registration in addition to their federal CLIA certificate, so that performing simple and reliable tests, such as rapid point-of-care COVID-19 tests, falls within the scope of dental practice.
“Dentists must be able to promptly screen all patients prior to dental treatment in order to protect the dental team from exposure to COVID-19 and to help refer asymptomatic and COVID-positive patients to appropriate care” , wrote the ADC in a letter to the state legislature.
And now, with California’s July 26 public health order requiring all healthcare workers in the state, including dentists and dental staff, to be fully vaccinated against or tested regularly for COVID-19, the need for dentists to have the ability to carry out simple actions, reliable tests in the dental office has become more urgent.
Currently, dentists can obtain their CLIA exemption certificate through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is required to perform waived testing. Tests are classified as exempt if the risk of misinterpreted results is low and the administration of the tests can be followed according to the instructions of the test manufacturer.
However, dentists are not eligible to obtain the registration required by the California Department of Public Health Laboratory Field Services because they are not on the list of people who may supervise the tests being performed.
This will change when AB 526 goes into effect in the coming weeks. AB 526 aligns California’s Laboratory Registration Act with federal law and allows dentists to register in the state as a “lab manager” to perform tests without waivers.
“Dentists have a training equivalent to that of other providers who can register as a laboratory director and therefore should also be allowed to supervise simple and low-complexity tests,” said CDA President Judee Tippett -Whyte, DDS. “With the arrival on the market of rapid point-of-care COVID-19 tests, the adoption of this legislation is all the more critical for the immediate screening of patients in order to guarantee the safety of dental teams. “
Once the legislation comes into force, dentists may also perform certain FDA-approved COVID-19 antigen tests for self-administration to comply with the weekly COVID-19 testing mandate for College employees. state public health. More information is available in CDA’s COVID-19 Lab Testing Toolkit.
CDA continues to seek clarification on who bears the costs of employee testing
As of August 23, dentists and dental staff in California who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 must undergo weekly COVID-19 tests under the state’s public health order. The CDA continues to seek clarification from state officials as to whether the dentist employer should bear the cost of the tests, including paying employees for weekly tests out of the office.
CDA encourages dentists to read CDA’s regularly updated FAQ on Mandate for Vaccination or Health Testing. Dental offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles counties will soon have to comply with local immunization orders.