CHAPTER 210

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 288

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 11, TITLE 24 OF THE DELAWARE CODE, RELATING TO THE BOARD OF DENTAL EXAMINERS.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend Section 1101, Subchapter I, Chapter 11, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by repealing said section in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

"Section 1101. Establishment; composition; qualifications.

The Delaware State Board of Dental Examiners, hereafter In this Chapter referred to as the "Board", shall consist of seven members. Five of those members shall be residents of this State who have been licensed to practice, and have been actively practicing, dentistry In this State for a period of five years immediately preceding their appointment to the Board. One member of the Board shall be a resident of this State who has been licensed to practice, and has been actively practicing, dental hygiene in this State for a period of five years immediately preceding appointment to the Board.

One member of the Board shall be a resident of this State for the five years preceding appointment to the Board. Said public member shall not be nor ever have been licensed as a dentist nor as a dental hygienist; nor be a member of the immediate family of a dentist or dental hygienist; shall not have been employed by a dentist; shall not have had a material financial interest in the providing of goods and services to those licensed in this Chapter; nor have been engaged in any activity directly related to dentistry or dental hygiene; shall not have been licensed in any health- related field nor be licensed to practice law. Said public member shall be accessible to inquiries, comments and suggestions from the general public.

The dental hygiene member and the lay member of the Board shall have full voting privileges, except that they shall not be empowered to pass upon the clinical competency of persons who have applied to be licensed as dentists. Nor shall the lay member of the Board be empowered to pass upon the clinical competency of a person who has applied to be licensed as a dental hygienist."

Section 2. Amend Section 1102, Subchapter I, Chapter II, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by repealing said section in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"Section 1102. Appointments: tenure; persons ineligible; removal.

All members of the Board shall be appointed by the Governor for a term of four years or until their successors are appointed and qualified. No person shall be eligible for appointment to the Board who is in any manner connected with or interested in any dental college or the dental department of any college or university or the dental supply business. No person shall be eligible for appointment to the Board who is an officer of either the Delaware State Dental Society or the Delaware Dental Hygienists' Association.

The Governor may remove from office at any time any member of the Board for continued neglect of duty required by this Chapter or for incompetence or unprofessional or dishonorable conduct."

Section 3. Amend Section 1104 (a), Subchapter I, Chapter II, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by adding a new paragraph to said subsection to be designated as paragraph (5), which shall read as follows:

"(5) Adopt regulations and procedures regarding the administration of analgesia, sedation or anesthesia, other than local, as the Board may deem proper, including the adoption of regulations and procedures requiring dentists to be certified by the Board prior to the administration of analgesia, sedation or anesthesia other than weal, if such certification is deemed proper by the Board."

"(b) Prior to the issuance of a certificate to practice dentistry, a majority of the dental members of the Board must find that the applicant has successfully passed his or her examination. Prior to the issuance of a certificate to practice dental hygiene, a majority of the dental and dental hygiene members of the Board must find that the dental hygiene applicant has successfully passed his or her examination. A concurrence of the majority of the entire Board, including the dental hygiene member and the public member of the Board, shall be necessary to revoke or suspend either a certificate as a dentist or dental hygienist issue under this chapter."

Section 5. Amend Section 1122 (a) (1), Subchapter II. Chapter 11, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by the deleting the number "14" where said number appears in s. 1122 (a) (1) and substitute in lieu thereof the number "60".

Section 6. Amend Section 1122 (a) (2) (D), Subchapter II, Chapter 11, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by repealing said subparagraph in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"(4) he or she has spent one year as a dental intern or resident in a school, institution or hospital approved by the Board, or, in lieu thereof, one year of active service as a dental officer with the armed forces of the United States, or has had five years of active dental practice of some other state or territory of the United States; and accompanied by the examination fee established by the Board."

Section 7. Amend Section 1125 (b), Subchapter 11. Chapter II, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by repealing said subsection in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"(b) The biennial certificate of registration shall be issued by the Secretary-Treasurer of the Board upon payment of a fee established by the Board and upon the furnishing of satisfactory proof that the dentist has met continuing education requirements established by the Board by regulation."

Section 8. Amend Subchapter II, Chapter 11, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by adding a new section thereto, which shall be designated as Section 1135 and shall read as follows:

"§1135. Disciplinary procedures: complaints, hearings; appeals.

(a) Any practitioner or member of the public who has a question or complaint

concerning any aspect of the practice of dentistry or dental hygiene may, during the regular business hours of a business day, contact the Board or the Division of Business and Occupational Regulation; or voice such question or complaint at a business meeting of the Board.

The Board shall investigate any complaint, including oral complaints; and shall follow through on those complaints which, upon investigation, appear to be valid and well- founded. In cases where the complainant is known to the Board it shall, within six weeks after the receipt of the complaint, notify the complainant whether or not it will take any action in the matter. If the Board decides to take no action it shall, by letter, state its reasons therefor. A record shall be kept of each complaint, formal or Informal, for a period of five years.

(b) Upon receipt of a complaint against a practitioner, the Board shall determine what action (If any) it shall take. Where the Board has determined to take further action, the matter shall be heard by the Board within three months from the date on which the complaint was received, unless circumstances surrounding the complaint warrant a lengthier investigation. The Board shall fix the time and place fixed for the hearing, to be personally delivered or served upon the practitioner at least thirty days before the date fixed for the hearing. In cases where the practitioner cannot be located or where personal service cannot be effected, substitute service will be effected in the same manner as with civil litigation.

(c) All hearings shall be informal without the rules of evidence. If the Board finds, by a majority vote of all members, that the complaint has merit, the Board shall take such action permitted under this Chapter as it deems necessary. The Board's decision shall be in writing and shall include its reasons for such a decision. A copy of the decision shall be malled immediately to the complainant and to the practitioner. The Board's decision shall become effective on the thirtieth day after the date it is mailed or served on the practitioner, unless there is an appeal to the Superior Court within that time.

(d) Where either the complainant or the practitioner is in disagreement with the action of the Board, either person may appeal the Board's decision to the Superior Court within thirty days of service, or of the postmarked date of the Board's decision. Upon such appeal, the Court shall hear the evidence on the record, and the filing of an appeal shall act as a stay of the Board's decision, pending final determination of the appeal."

Section 9. Amend Section 1151, Subchapter III, Chapter 11, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by repealing said section in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following section:

"Section 1151. Application of registration; qualifications of applicants.

Any person desiring to become registered as a dental hygienist in this State shall:

(a) Be at least eighteen years of age; and

(b) Be a person of good moral character; and

(c) Furnish satisfactory proof to the Board that he or she was graduated from high school and that he or she graduated from a dental hygiene academic program at least two academic years in duration which has been approved by the Board or, if graduated from a dental hygiene school prior to 1953, that he or she graduated from a dental hygiene program of at least one year in duration, which program was approved by the Board at the time of graduation; and

(d) File a written application for registration as a dental hygienist with the Secretary- Treasurer of the Board at least sixty days before the time set for the examination. Such application shall be verified under oath and accompanied by the examination fee established by the Board."

Section 10. Amend Section 1154 (b), Subchapter III, Chapter 11, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by repealing said subsection in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

"(b) The biennial certificate of registration shall be issued by the Secretary-Treasurer of the Board upon payment of the fee as established by the Board and upon the furnishing of satisfactory proof that the dental hygienist has met continuing education requirements established by the Board by regulation and has successfully completed a course in cardiopulmonary resuscitation approved by the Board."

Section 11. Amend Section 1157 (b), Subchapter III, Chapter 11, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by repealing said subsection in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"(b) The registered dental hygienist may remove calculus deposits, plaque. acretions and stains from all surfaces of the teeth and make instrumental examinations of the teeth for cavities and assemble all necessary information for use by the dentist in diagnosis and treatment planning and may perform such prophylactic or preventive measures in the case of teeth, including the application of chemicals to the teeth designed and approved for the prevention of dental caries, as the Board may from time to time authorize, but shall not perform any other operation on the teeth or tissues of the mouth."

Section 12. Amend Chapter 11, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by striking the word "oral" whenever said word immediately precedes the words "hygiene" or "hygienist(s)" and inserting in lieu thereof the word "dental".

Section 13. Amend Subchapter V, Chapter 11, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by adding a new section which shall read as follows:

"Section 1192. Reports of dental malpractice actions.

The prothonotary in each county of the State of Delaware shall report to the Board the adjudication of any dental malpractice claim against a dentist which was filed in their offices or the settlement of any dental malpractice claim which was filed in their offices."

Section 14. Amend Subchapter V, Chapter 11, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by adding a new section to be designated as Section 1193 and to read as follows:

"Section 1193. Dental malpractice limitations.

No action for recovery of damages against a dentist, dental hygienist or dental assistant for personal injury, including death, allegedly suffered in the course of dental treatment, shall be brought after the expiration of two years from the date upon which such inJury occurred; provided, however, that:

(1) Solely in the event of a personal injury the occurrence of which, during such period of two years was unknown to and could not in the exercise of reasonable diligence have been discovered by the injured person, such action may be brought prior to the expiration of three years from the date upon which such injury occurred, and not thereafter; and

(2) A minor under the age of six years shall have until the latter time for bringing such an action as provided for hereinabove or until the minor's sixth birthday in which to bring an action.

Section 15. Amend Section 1152, Subchapter Ill, Chapter 11, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by striking the first paragraph of said section in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"An applicant for a certificate of registration as a dental hygienist shall appear before the Board at the first meeting following the filing of his or her application and pass a satisfactory examination consisting of practical clinical demonstrations and a written examination on such subjects as the Board may prescribe. The written examination shall be prepared by the Board in conjunction with the Dental Hygiene Advisory Committee."

Section 16. Amend Chapter 11, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by creating a new section 1110 to read as follows:

§1110 Dental Hygiene Advisory Committee.

(a) The Delaware Dental Hygiene Advisory Committee, heretofore established and hereafter in this Chapter referred to as the "Committee" shall serve the Board on matters pertaining to the policy and practice of dental hygiene.

(b) The Committee shall henceforth be appointed by the Governor and shall consist of three duly licensed practicing Dental Hygienists of the State of Delaware. Each member of the Committee at the time of his or her appointment, shall have been a resident of and in the active and reputable practice of dental hygiene in the State of Delaware for the two years immediately preceding their appointment. No person shall be eligible for appointment who is in any manner connected with or interested in any Dental Hygiene College or the Hygiene Department of any college or university or any commercial dental emterprise.

The length of term for each such Committee member shall be three years, or until their successors are nominated and qualified, with the terms rotating so that one new member is added, one member retired, each year.

All present appointments to the Committee shall remain in effect until their terms of appointment expire.

The Governor may remove any member form the Committee at any time for continued neglect of duty or for incompetency or unprofessional or dishonorable conduct."

Approved September 6, 1985.