CHAPTER 31

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 17

AS AMENDED BY SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 1

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 24 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO DENTISTRY AND DENTAL HYGIENE

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

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

"Subchapter I. Board of Dental Examiners §1100. Objectives.

§1100. Objectives.

The primary objective of the Board of Dental Examiners, to which all other objectives and purposes are secondary, is to protect the general public, specifically those persons who are the direct recipients of services regulated by this Chapter, from unsafe and unprofessional practices.

The secondary objectives of the Board are to maintain minimum standards of practitioner competency, and to maintain certain standards in the delivery of services to the public. In meeting its objectives, the Board shall develop standards assuring professional competence; shall monitor complaints brought against practitioners regulated by the Board; shall adjudicate at formal hearings; shall promulgate rules and regulations; and shall impose sanctions where necessary against licensees or former licensees.

§1101. Board of Dental Examiners: appointments: qualifications: term. vacancies. suspension_or removal: unexcused absences: compensation.

(a) There is created a State Board of Dental Examiners which shall administer and enforce this Chapter.

(b) The Board shall consist of 9 members appointed by the Governor, who are residents of this State, 5 of whom shall be dentists licensed under this Chapter and who have been actively practicing dentistry in this State for a period of 5 years immediately preceding appointment to the Board; one member shall be a dental hygienist who has been actively practicing dental hygiene in this State for a period of 5 years immediately preceding appointment to the Board; and 3 public members who shall have been residents of this State for a period of 5 years immediately preceding appointment to the Board. The public members shall not be, nor ever have been, dentists or dental hygienists; nor members of the immediate family of a dentist or dental hygienist; shall not have been employed by a dentist; shall not have a material interest in the providing of goods and services to dentists or dental hygienists; nor have been engaged in an activity directly related to dentistry or dental hygiene. The public members shall be accessible to inquiries, comments and suggestions from the general public. No public member shall have been licensed in any health related field or be licensed to practice law. 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.

(c) Except as provided in subsection (d) of this Section, each member shall serve a term of 3 years, and may succeed himself or herself for one additional term; provided, however, that where a member was initially appointed to fill a vacancy, such member may succeed himself or herself for only one additional full term. Any person appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board shall hold office for the remainder of the unexpired term of the former member. Each term of office shall expire on the date specified in the appointment; however, the Board member shall remain eligible to participate in Board proceedings unless and until replaced by the Governor.

(d) A person who has never served on the Board may be appointed to the Board for 2 consecutive terms; but, no such person shall thereafter be eligible for 2 consecutive appointments. No person, who has been twice appointed to the Board or who has served on the Board for six years within any 9-year period, shall again be appointed to the Board until an interim period of at least 1 year has expired since such person last served.

(e) Any act or vote by a person appointed in violation of this Section shall be invalid. An amendment or revision of this Chapter is not sufficient cause for any appointment or attempted appointment in violation of subsection (d) of this Section, unless such an amendment or revision amends this Section to permit such an appointment.

(f) A member of the Board shall be suspended or removed by the Governor for misfeasance, nonfeasance, malfeasance, misconduct, incompetency or neglect of duty. A member subject to disciplinary hearing shall be disqualified from Board business until the charge is adjudicated or otherwise concluded. A Board member may appeal any suspension or removal to the Superior Court.

(g) No member of the Board, while serving on the Board, shall hold elective office in any professional association of dentists or dental hygienists, including the Delaware State Dental Society and the Delaware Dental Hygienists' Association.

(h) The provisions set forth for 'employees' in Chapter 58, Title 29 of the Delaware Code shall apply to all members of the Board.

(i) Any member who is absent without adequate reason for 3 consecutive meetings, or fails to attend at least half of all regular business meetings during any calendar year, shall be guilty of neglect of duty.

(j) Each member of the Board shall be reimbursed, in accordance with the policy of the Division of Professional Regulation, for all expenses involved in each meeting, including travel; and in addition shall receive not more than $50 for each meeting attended but not more than $500 in any calendar year. After 10 meetings have been attended, the member shall not be compensated for any subsequent meetings attended in that year.

§1102. Organization: meetings: officers: quorum,

(a) The Board shall hold regularly scheduled business meetings at least once in each quarter of a calendar year, and at such times as the President deems necessary, or, at the request of a majority of the Board members.

(b) The Board annually shall elect a President and Secretary. Each officer shall serve for 1 year, and shall not succeed himself or herself for more than 2 consecutive terms.

(c) A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of transacting business. No disciplinary action shall be taken without the affirmative vote of 5 members of the Board.

(d) When members of the Dental Hygiene Advisory Committee participate in voting on matters listed in §1104(c)(1), (2) and (3) of this Chapter, the Board composition shall be 12 voting members, so that 7 members shall constitute a quorum.

(e) Minutes of all meetings shall be recorded, and copies shall be maintained by the Division of Professional Regulation. At any hearing where evidence is presented, a record from which a verbatim transcript can be prepared shall be made. The expense of preparing any transcript shall be incurred by the person requesting it.

§1103. Records,

The Division of Professional Regulation shall keep a register of all approved applications for license as a dentist or a dental hygienist, and complete records relating to meetings of the Board, examinations, rosters, changes and additions to the Board's rules and regulations, complaints, hearings and such other matters as the Board shall determine. Such records shall be prima facie evidence of the proceedings of the Board.

§1104. Dental Hygiene Advisory Committee.

(a) There is created a State Dental Hygiene Advisory Committee which shall serve the Board on matters pertaining to the policy and practice of dental hygiene.

(b) The Committee shall consist of 3 licensed dental hygienists appointed by the Governor, who are residents of this State, and who have been actively practicing dental hygiene in this State for 2 years immediately preceding appointment to the Committee.

(1) No person shall be eligible for appointment to the Committee who is in any manner connected with or who has an interest in any dental hygiene college or the dental hygiene department of any college or university or any commercial dental enterprise.

(2) Each member shall serve a term of 3 years and remain eligible to participate in proceedings unless and until replaced by the Governor.

(3) All terms shall be staggered so that one new member is added and one member is retired each year.

(4) Persons who are members of the Committee on the effective date of this Act shall complete their terms.

(5) A member of the Committee shall be suspended or removed by the Governor for misfeasance, nonfeasance, malfeasance, misconduct, incompetency or neglect of duty.

(6) No member of the Committee shall hold elective office in any professional association of dental hygienists.

(7) Each member of the Committee shall be reimbursed, according to the policy of the Division of Professional Regulation, for all expenses involved in each meeting, including travel; and in addition, shall receive $50 for each meeting attended but not more than $500 in any calendar year. After 10 meetings have been attended, the member shall not be compensated for any subsequent meetings attended in that year.

(c) The Committee shall participate with members of the Board in:

(1) Voting on the qualifications of candidates who apply for licensure to practice dental hygiene;

(2) Voting on the composition of the State dental hygiene clinical/practical examination;

(3) Voting on the requirements for renewal of dental hygiene licenses.

§1105. Powers and duties of the Board.

(a) The Board of Dental Examiners shall have authority to:

(1) Formulate rules and regulations, with appropriate notice to those affected; all rules and regulations shall be promulgated in accordance with the procedures specified in the Administrative Procedures Act of this State. Each rule or regulation shall implement or clarify a specific section of this Chapter.

(2) Designate the application form to be used by all applicants, and to process all

applications;

(3) Designate the written, standardized examination administered by the National Board of Dental Examiners to be taken by all person applying for licensure;

(4) Prepare and administer a practical examination in dentistry and dental hygiene;

(5) Designate a written jurisprudence examination on the Delaware laws pertaining to dentistry to be taken by all persons applying for licensure;

(6) Provide for the administration of all applicable examinations, including notice and information to applicants.

(7) Evaluate the credentials of all persons applying for a license to practice dentistry and dental hygiene in order to determine whether such persons meet the qualifications for licensing set forth in this Chapter.

(8) Grant licenses to and renew licenses of all persons who meet the qualifications for licensure and/or renewal of licenses;

(9) Establish by rule and regulation continuing education standards required for license renewal for dentists and dental hygienists;

(10) Evaluate certified records to determine whether an applicant for licensure, who has been previously licensed, certified, or registered in another jurisdiction to practice dentistry or dental hygiene, has engaged in any act or offense that would be grounds for disciplinary action under this Chapter and whether there are disciplinary proceedings or unresolved complaints pending against such applicants for such acts or offenses.

(11) Refer all complaints from licensees and the public concerning licensed dentists and dental hygienists, or concerning practices of the Board or of the profession, to the Division of Professional Regulation for investigation pursuant to §8810 of Title 29 of the Delaware Code, and, assign a member of the Board to assist the Division in an advisory capacity with the investigation of the technical aspects of the complaint;

(12) Conduct hearings and issue orders in accordance with procedures established pursuant to this Chapter, Chapter 101 of Title 29 of the Delaware Code, and §8810 of Title 29 of the Delaware Code. Where such provisions conflict with the provisions of this Chapter, this Chapter shall govern. The Board shall determine whether or not a dentist or dental hygienist shall be subject to a disciplinary hearing and, if so, shall conduct such hearing in accordance with this Chapter and the Administrative Procedures Act.

(13) Where it has been determined after a disciplinary hearing, that penalties or sanctions should be imposed, to designate and impose the appropriate sanction or penalty after time for appeal has lapsed."

Section 2. Members currently serving on the Board of Dental Examiners and the Dental Hygiene Advisory Committee shall continue to serve unless or until replaced by the Governor.

Approved May 15, 1997