§ 1191 Immunity of officials reviewing dental records and dentists' work; confidentiality of investigative records; liability of informants.
(a) The members of the State Board of Dentistry and Dental Hygiene of Delaware, dental ethics committee and dentists who are members of hospital and Delaware State Dental Society committees whose function is the review of dental records and of dentists' work with a view to quality of care and utilization of hospital facilities, home visits and office visits shall severally not be subject to, and shall be immune from, claim, suit, liability, damages or any other recourse, civil or criminal, arising from any act or proceeding, decision or determination undertaken, performed or reached in good faith and without malice by any such member or members acting individually or jointly in carrying out the responsibilities, authority, duties, powers and privileges of the offices conferred by law upon them under this chapter, or any other state law, or duly adopted rules and regulations of the aforementioned committees and hospitals, good faith being presumed until proven otherwise, with malice required to be shown by a complainant.
(b) The records and proceedings of any such committees or organizations as described in subsection (a) of this section shall be confidential records which shall not constitute public records or be available for general inspection by the public. All hearings on complaints shall be opened to the public only at the request of the respondent.
(c) No person who provides information to any such committees or organizations as described in subsection (a) of this section, or who testifies as a witness, shall be held liable in any cause of action arising out of the providing of such information or the giving of such testimony, provided that such person does so in good faith and without malice.
§ 1192 Reports of dental malpractice actions.
The Prothonotary in each county of the State shall report to the Board the adjudication of any dental malpractice claim against a dentist which was filed in the Prothonotary's office or the settlement of any dental malpractice claim which was filed in the Prothonotary's office.
§ 1193 Limitation of action for dental malpractice.
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 2 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 2 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 3 years from the date upon which such injury occurred, and not thereafter; and
(2) A minor under the age of 6 years shall have until the latter time for bringing such an action as provided for in paragraph (1) of this section or until the minor's sixth birthday to bring an action.
§ 1194 Appeal panel.
(a) Prior to the administration of the first practical examination each year by the Board, the Director of the Division of Professional Regulation shall appoint an appeal panel to hear appeals as a result of denial of licensure by the Board for failure of a practical examination. For appeals arising from the failure of the dental practical examination, the appeal panel shall consist of 2 dentists licensed to practice in this State and 1 public member. For appeals arising from the failure of the dental hygiene practical examination, the appeal panel shall consist of 1 dentist licensed to practice in this State, 1 dental hygienist and 1 public member.
(b) The licensed professional members of the respective panels shall have at least 3 years of experience practicing in their respective professions. A professional member shall not have served on the State Board of Dentistry and Dental Hygiene nor on the Dental Hygiene Advisory Committee for at least 5 years preceding the professional member's appointment to the panel; nor shall such professional member be an officer or other elected official in a professional association of dentists or dental hygienists. The public member shall not have been a dentist nor dental hygienist, nor a member of the immediate family of a dentist or dental hygienist, nor have been employed by a dentist, nor have a material interest in the providing of goods and services to dentists, nor have been engaged in an activity directly related to dentistry or dental hygiene.
(c) Each member of the appeal panel shall serve for a term of 1 year and shall be eligible for 1 additional reappointment to the appeal panel.
(d) In the event an applicant for licensure has failed a practical examination administered by the State Board of Dentistry and Dental Hygiene, the applicant has the right to appeal the decision by the Board. Such appeal shall be filed in writing with the Director of the Division of Professional Regulation within 20 days of the date of notification by the Board. Upon receipt of the applicant's written appeal of the Board's decision, the Director shall convene the appeal panel within 30 days. The Director shall notify the appellant by certified mail of the date set for the hearing.
(e) The conduct of all hearings and the issuance of orders shall be in accordance with procedures established pursuant to this section, Chapter 101 of Title 29 and § 8735 of Title 29. Where such provisions conflict with the provisions of this section, this section shall govern.
(f) The applicant may appeal any denial of licensure by the panel to the Superior Court within 30 days' notice of denial. Such appeal shall be on the record.
(g) In the event that an appeal is remanded from Superior Court, such appeal will be heard by the original appeal panel.
§ 1195 Dentist discontinuing practice or leaving state; death of a dentist; change of dentist and transfer of patient records; notification of patients.
(a) Every dentist licensed to practice under this chapter who is discontinuing a practice in this State or is leaving this State and who is not transferring patient records to another dentist shall notify that dentist's own patients of record by publishing a notice to that effect in a newspaper of daily circulation in the area where the dentist practices. The notice must be published at least 3 times over a 3-month period in advance of discontinuing the practice or leaving the State and must explain how a patient can procure that dentist's own patient records. All patients of record who have not requested their records 30 days before the closing of the practice shall be notified by first class mail by the dentist to permit the patients to procure their records. Any patient records that have not been procured within 7 years after the dentist discontinues practice or leaves the State may be permanently disposed of in a manner that ensures the confidentiality of the records.
(b) When a dentist licensed to practice under this chapter dies and has not transferred patient records to another dentist and has not made provisions for a transfer of patient records to occur upon the dentist's death, a personal representative of the dentist's estate shall notify the dentist's patients of record by publishing a notice to that effect in a newspaper of daily circulation in the area where the dentist practiced. The notice must be published at least 3 times over a 3-month period after the dentist's death and must explain how a patient can procure patient records. All patients of record who have not requested their records 30 days after publication shall be notified by first class mail by the personal representative of the estate to permit patients to procure their records. Any patient records that have not been procured within 7 years after the death of the dentist may be permanently disposed of in a manner that ensures confidentiality of the records.
(c) Whenever a patient changes from the care of 1 dentist to another dentist, the prior dentist shall transfer the records of the patient to the new dentist upon the written request of either the new dentist or the patient. If a patient changes care from 1 dentist to another dentist and fails to notify the prior dentist, or leaves the care of the prior dentist for a period of 7 years from the last entry date on the patient's record and fails to notify the prior dentist, or fails to request the transfer of records to the new dentist, then the prior dentist shall maintain said records for a period of 7 years from the last entry date in the patient's dental record after which time the records may be permanently disposed of in a manner that ensures confidentiality of the records.
(d) This section shall not apply to a dentist who has seen or treated a patient on referral from another dentist and who has provided a record of the diagnosis or treatment to another dentist, hospital or agency which has provided treatment for the patient.
(e) A dentist or the personal representative of the estate of a dentist who disposes of patient records in accordance with the provisions of this section is not liable for any direct or indirect loss suffered as a result of the disposal of a patient's records.