On September 24th, the House Public Health Committee chaired by Rep. Lois Kolkhorst heard testimony from the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners about implementation of changes to the dental board from legislation enacted last legislative session, in particular HB 3201. The purpose of the legislation was to give the Board more resources and power to handle disciplinary matters with dentists and deal with DSOs.
Complaints being disposed of faster
Julie Hildebrand, the executive director of the Board, testified that instead of just eight dentists reviewing complaints to the Board, there are now over 100 employed to do so. The average time to dispense with a complaint prior to HB 3201 was around 500 days. They are hoping to bring this down to 30 days. So far the backlog of cases has been reduced from 1306 to 1085.
DSOs still of concern, dentists to be made responsible
A major part of Hildebrand’s testimony and concern of the Committee was the continuing role of DSOs and if they were owning dental practices or dictating dental procedures or setting quotas for income. The TSBDE has sent out a mandated survey to dentists which is 90% complete to determine this and a report is forthcoming at the beginning of November.
However, as the Board cannot hold DSOs responsible for their behavior because they are non-dentists, the dentist who owns the practice and contracts with a DSO will be held fully responsible for any dental regulations broken by the DSO. The DSO cannot be touched.
Hildebrand’s testimony is on Youtube and here.