State Board of Dentistry Report – March 12, 2021

Chairperson Dr. Lugo welcomed attendees. There is a vacancy on the board as April Hutcheson is no longer with the Department of Health. The minutes were approved with minor corrections.

Prosecutorial Report

The prosecutions were primarily discussed in executive session. The one case discussed in public regarded a dentist who was licensed in Delaware and Pennsylvania, went inactive in Pennsylvania in 2001, and renewed his license in 2018. In this time period, he was disciplined in Delaware in 2012 for improperly administering ketamine, resulting in a patient hospitalization. He informed the Pennsylvania board when he reinstated his license in 2018 and received a public reprimand and $500 civil penalty. Some board members inquired if this penalty was too lenient due to the elapsed time involved, and whether the eventual renewal was a way to escape penalty in Pennsylvania. Prosecutors indicated that this was not the case.

Chief prosecutor Paul Jarabeck presented that prosecutors were going to begin working with Dauphin County victim/witness advocates for violent and sexual offenses before licensing boards. The program is a pilot for one year and offers a training and assistance opportunity for prosecutors working with traumatized individuals.

Report of Board Counsel

The board voted on disciplinary cases previously discussed in executive session. Board counsel reported on Pennsylvania legislation that could potentially affect the board:

  • HB 593 would prohibit gifts from pharmaceutical companies for healthcare personnel.
  • HB 642 would create a reimbursement mechanism for telemedicine and require the board to promulgate regulations.
  • HB 131 would require anyone disciplined before boards to attend their hearings in person.
  • HB 325 would allow the board to offer advisory opinions and would indemnify it from the opinions offered.

Several board members asked if the legislative requirement for boards to promulgate telemedicine regulations within twelve months is realistic. It was noted that the legislation may change significantly before passage, but the board could be proactive in discussing potential teledentistry regulations based on what has been introduced in other states. The board will not create regulation until the empowering statute is passed.

Ms. Groody asked when the general revisions regulatory package would be addressed. It contains the language requiring a clinical examination for EFDAs. Board counsel did not know when this regulation would be moved from the governor’s policy office.

Report of the Chair

Dr. Lugo has been assured by the BPOA Commissioner that dentists will be considered when discussing vaccination privileges in accordance with CDC directives. An update on this is expected at the next SBOD meeting.

Dr. Lugo charged board members to conduct committee meetings before the next board meeting. Dr. Jaspan recommended that the Scope of Practice Committee make determinations on hygienists operating lasers and nitrous oxide.