§ 5-31.1-39. Public health hygienists.
(a) Any public health dental hygienist, which for purposes of this chapter means any practicing registered dental hygienist who may perform dental-hygiene procedures in a public-health setting subject to conditions adopted by the Rhode Island board of examiners in dentistry, may perform in a public-health setting, without the immediate or direct supervision or direction of a dentist, any procedure or provide any service that is within the dental-hygiene scope of practice that has been authorized and adopted by the Rhode Island board of examiners in dentistry as a delegable procedure for a dental hygienist under general supervision in a private practice setting.
(b) Public-health settings shall, for purposes of this section, include, but are not limited to, residences of the homebound, schools, nursing home and long-term-care facilities, clinics, hospitals, medical facilities, community health centers licensed or certified by the department of health, mobile and portable dental-health programs licensed or certified by the department of health and operated by a local or state agency, head-start programs, and any other facilities or programs deemed appropriate by the department of health.
(c) Any public-health hygienist shall enter into a written, collaborative agreement with a local or state government agency or institution or with a licensed dentist who states that he or she shall be able to provide the appropriate level of communication and consultation with the dental hygienist to ensure patient health and safety prior to performing any procedure or providing any service under this section. The written, collaborative agreement will follow the appropriate guidelines as determined and established by the Rhode Island board of examiners in dentistry.
(d) Any public-health dental hygienist shall provide to the patient, or to the patient's legal guardian, a consent form to be signed by the patient or legal guardian. The consent form shall be consistent with current department of health policies that describes services to be rendered and explains that services rendered are not a substitute for a dental examination by a dentist. The consent form shall also inform the patient or legal guardian that the patient should obtain a dental examination by a dentist within ninety (90) days after undergoing a procedure authorized pursuant to this section. The patient or legal guardian shall also obtain written referral to a dentist and an assessment of further dental needs.
(e) The public-health dental hygienist shall be directly reimbursed for services administered in a public-health setting by Medicaid or the state healthcare insurance program except as required by federal Medicaid law, but shall not seek reimbursement from any other insurance or third-party payor. A public-health dental hygienist shall not operate independently of a dentist, except for a dental hygienist working for a local or state government agency or institution or practicing in a mobile or portable prevention program licensed or certified by the department of health. In such cases, the local or state government agency or institution or mobile or portable prevention program licensed or certified by the department of health may seek reimbursement from any other third-party payor.
(P.L. 2015, ch. 172, § 1; P.L. 2015, ch. 192, § 1.)