Title 5
Businesses and Professions

Chapter 31.1
Dentists and Dental Hygienists

R.I. Gen. Laws 5-31.1-20

 5-31.1-20.  Reports relating to professional conduct and capacity — Regulations — Confidentiality — Immunity.

(a) The board, with the approval of the director, may adopt regulations requiring any person, including, but not limited to, corporations, healthcare facilities, health-maintenance organizations, organizations, federal, state, or local governmental agencies, or peer-review boards to report to the board any conviction, determination, or finding that a licensed dentist, dental hygienist, or DAANCE-certified maxillofacial surgery assistant has committed unprofessional conduct as defined by 5-31.1-10, or to report information that indicates that a licensed dentist, dental hygienist, or DAANCE-certified maxillofacial surgery assistant may not be able to practice dentistry, dental hygiene, or DAANCE-certified maxillofacial surgery assisting with reasonable skill and safety to patients as the result of any mental or physical condition. The regulations include the reporting requirements prescribed in subsections (b)(1), (b)(2), and (b)(3) of this section.

(b) The following reports, in writing, shall be filed with the board:

(1) Every insurer providing professional liability insurance to a dentist, dental hygienist, or DAANCE-certified maxillofacial surgery assistant licensed under the provisions of this chapter must send a complete report to the board as to any formal notice of any claim, settlement of any claim or cause of actions, or final judgment rendered in any cause of action for damages for death or personal injury caused by a dentist's, dental hygienist's, or DAANCE-certified maxillofacial surgery assistant's negligence, error, or omission in practice or his or her rendering of unauthorized professional services. This report shall be sent within thirty (30) days after service of the complaint or notice, settlement, judgment, or arbitration award on the parties. All of those reports shall present an in-depth, factual summary of the claim in question.

(2) All hospital and licensed healthcare facilities including, but not limited to, nursing homes and health-maintenance organizations and the director of the department of health must report to the board, within thirty (30) days of the action, any action, disciplinary or otherwise, taken for any reason, that limits, suspends, or revokes a dentist's or dental hygienist's privilege to practice or requires supervision of a dentist, either through formal action by the institution or faculty or through any voluntary agreement with the dentist.

(3) Within ten (10) days after a judgment by a court of this state that a dentist or dental hygienist licensed under the provisions of this chapter has been convicted of a crime or is civilly liable for any death or personal injury caused by his or her negligence, error, or omission in his or her practice or his or her rendering unauthorized professional services, the clerk of the court that rendered the judgment shall report the judgment to the board.

(c) The board shall report any changes of privileges of which it is aware to the board of trustees or other appropriate body of all licensed hospitals and health-maintenance organizations within thirty (30) days.

(d) The contents of any report file are confidential and exempt from public disclosure, except that it may be reviewed:

(1) By the licensee involved, or his or her counsel or authorized representative, who may submit any additional exculpatory or explanatory statements or other information, which statements or other information are included in the file; or

(2) By the dental administrator, a representative of the board, or an investigator for the board, who has been assigned to review the activities of a licensed dentist, dental hygienist, or DAANCE-certified maxillofacial surgery assistant.

(e) Upon determination that a report is without merit, the board's records may be purged of information relating to the report.

(f) If any person refuses to furnish a required report, the board may petition the superior court of any county in which that person resides or is found, and the superior court shall issue to the court's person an order to furnish the required report. Any failure to comply with that order constitutes civil contempt.

(g) Every individual, dental association, dental society, dental hygiene association, dental auxiliary association, hospital, healthcare facility, health-maintenance organizations, peer-review board, dental service bureau, health insurance carrier or agent, professional standards review organization, and agency of the federal, state, or local government is immune from civil liability, whether direct or derivative, for providing information to the board in good faith pursuant to this statute or the regulations outlined in subsection (a) or requirements of subsection (b).

(h) Nondisclosure agreements are prohibited insofar as they forbid parties from making reports regarding competency and/or unprofessional conduct to the board of examiners in dentistry.

(i) The board of examiners in dentistry, with the approval of the director, shall promulgate rules and regulations establishing standards for hospital or health-maintenance organization supervision of dentists or dental hygienists by peer-review committees. Those regulations, including without limiting their generality, shall require that each hospital or health-maintenance organization report annually to the board the activities, findings, studies, and determination of its peer-review committees.

History of Section.
P.L. 1987, ch. 358, 2; P.L. 1997, ch. 30, art. 28, 2; P.L. 2014, ch. 95, 1; P.L. 2014, ch. 163, 1.