(a) For purposes of this section, the following words have the following meanings:

Terms Used In Alabama Code 34-9-6.1

  • following: means next after. See Alabama Code 30-3D-608
  • Guardian: A person legally empowered and charged with the duty of taking care of and managing the property of another person who because of age, intellect, or health, is incapable of managing his (her) own affairs.
  • person: includes a corporation as well as a natural person. See Alabama Code 30-3D-608
  • state: when applied to the different parts of the United States, includes the District of Columbia and the several territories of the United States. See Alabama Code 30-3D-608
  • writing: includes typewriting and printing on paper. See Alabama Code 30-3D-608
  • year: means a calendar year; but, whenever the word "year" is used in reference to any appropriations for the payment of money out of the treasury, it shall mean fiscal year. See Alabama Code 30-3D-608

(1) DENTAL HOME. The dental home is the ongoing relationship between the dentist and the patient, inclusive of all aspects of oral health care, delivered in a comprehensive, continuously accessible, coordinated, and family-centered way.

(2) MOBILE DENTAL FACILITY. Any self-contained facility in which dentistry or dental hygiene is practiced which may be moved, towed, or transported from one location to another.

(3) OPERATOR. A person licensed to practice dentistry in this state or an entity which is approved as tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code which employs dentists licensed in the state to operate a mobile dental facility or portable dental operation.

(4) PORTABLE DENTAL OPERATION. The use of portable dental delivery equipment which is set up on site to provide dental services outside of a mobile dental facility or a dental office and uses non-fixed dental equipment and independent plumbing.

(b) In order to operate a mobile dental facility or portable dental operation, an operator shall first obtain a certificate of registration issued by the board. The operator shall complete an application in the form and manner required by the board and shall meet all qualifications established by rules of the board.

(c) A mobile dental facility shall comply with all of the following requirements:

(1) The operator shall maintain an official business address which shall not be a post office box and which shall be within this state and be associated with an established dental facility which shall have an official business address on record with the board. The address shall be filed with the board as part of the application for a certificate of registration.

(2) The operator shall maintain an official telephone number of record which shall be accessible 24 hours a day and which shall be filed with the board as part of the application for a certificate of registration. The telephone number shall have 911 capability.

(3) The board shall be notified within 30 days of any change in address, location, or telephone number of record. The notification shall also include the method by which patients are notified of the change of address, location, or telephone number of record. For purposes of this subdivision, patient shall mean any individual who has received treatment or consultation of any kind within two years of the date of the proposed change of address, location, or telephone number of record.

(4) All written or printed documents available from or issued by the mobile dental facility shall contain the official business address and telephone number of record for the mobile dental facility.

(5) When not in transit, all dental and official records shall be maintained at the official business address.

(6) The operator shall maintain a written procedure for emergency follow-up care for patients treated in a mobile dental facility, which includes arrangements for treatment in a dental facility that is permanently established in the area within a 50-mile radius where services are provided subject to a qualified dentist being located in the area and subject to the dentist agreeing to provide follow-up care. An operator who either is unable to identify a qualified dentist in the area or is unable to arrange for emergency follow-up care for patients otherwise shall be obligated to provide the necessary follow-up care via the mobile dental facility or the operator may choose to provide the follow-up care at his or her established dental practice location in the state or at any other established dental practice in the state which agrees to accept the patient. An operator who fails to arrange or provide follow-up care as required herein shall be considered to have abandoned the patient, and the operator and any dentist or dental hygienist, or both, who fails to provide the referenced follow-up care shall be subject to disciplinary action by the board.

(7) The mobile dental facility shall have communication abilities that enable the operator to contact necessary parties in the event of a medical or dental emergency. The communication abilities shall enable the patient or the parent or guardian of the patient treated to contact the operator for emergency care, follow-up care, or information about treatment received. The provider who renders follow-up care must also be able to contact the operator and receive treatment information, including radiographs.

(8) The mobile dental facility and the dental procedures performed therein shall comply with all applicable federal and state laws and all applicable rules of the board promulgated pursuant to Section 34-9-43.

(9) Any driver of a mobile dental facility shall possess a valid Alabama driver’s license appropriate for the operation of the vehicle. A copy of the driver’s license of each driver shall be submitted to the board at least 30 days prior to the individual operating a mobile dental facility.

(10) All mobile dental facilities authorized in this section which are a vehicle or which are to be towed or otherwise transported by another vehicle shall be registered in this state.

(11) The operator of a mobile dental facility shall not perform services on a minor without the signed consent from the parent or guardian which form shall be established by the board. The consent form shall inquire whether the prospective patient has received dental care from a licensed dentist within one year and if so, the consent form shall request the name, address, and phone number of the dental home. If the information provided to the operator does not identify a dental home for the prospective patient, the operator shall contact the Alabama Medicaid Agency for assistance in identifying a dental home for Medicaid eligible patients. If this information is provided to the operator, the operator shall contact the designated dental home by phone, facsimile, or electronic mail and notify the dental home of the prospective patient’s interest in receiving dental care from the operator. If the dental home confirms that an appointment for the prospective patient is scheduled with the dentist, the operator shall encourage the prospective patient or his or her guardian to seek care from the dental home. The consent form shall document that the patient, or legal guardian, understands the prospective patient has an option to receive dental care from the mobile dental facility or his or her designated dental home if applicable. The consent form shall require the signature of a parent or legal guardian if the patient is a minor.

(12) Each operator of a mobile dental facility shall maintain a written or electronic record detailing for each location where services are performed all of the following information:

a. The street address of the service location.

b. The dates of each session.

c. The number of patients served.

d. The types of dental services provided and the quantity of each service provided.

e. Any other information requested by rule of the board.

(13) The written or electronic record shall be made available to the board within 10 days of a request.

(14) Each mobile dental facility shall possess all applicable county and city licenses or permits to operate at each location.

(d) The mobile dental facility shall comply with the following physical requirements and inspection criteria:

(1) Ready access in a ramp or lift.

(2) A properly functioning sterilization system.

(3) Ready access to an adequate supply of potable water, including hot water.

(4) A covered galvanized, stainless steel, or other noncorrosive container for deposit of refuse and waste materials.

(5) Ready access to toilet facilities which shall be located within the mobile dental facility. Operators applying for a certificate prior to July 1, 2008, are not required to meet this requirement. Any governmental entity operating a mobile dental facility shall only be required to have ready access to toilet facilities.

(6) All licenses and permits as required by Section 34-9-13 on site.

(7) Ready access to an emergency kit.

(8) Sharps containers and red biohazard equipment available on site.

(e) A portable dental operation shall comply with all of the following requirements:

(1) The operator shall maintain an official business address which shall not be a post office box and which shall be within this state and be associated with an established dental facility which shall have an official business address on record with the board. The address shall be filed with the board as part of the application for a certificate of registration.

(2) The operator shall maintain an official telephone number of record which shall be accessible 24 hours a day and which shall be filed with the board as part of the application for a certificate of registration. The telephone number shall have E-911 capability.

(3) The board shall be notified within 30 days of any change in address, location, or telephone number of record. The notification shall also include the method by which patients are notified of the change of address, location, or telephone number of record. For purposes of this subdivision, patient shall mean any individual who has received treatment or consultation of any kind within two years of the date of the proposed change of address, location, or telephone number of record.

(4) All written or printed documents available from or issued by the portable dental operation shall contain the official business address and telephone number of record for the portable dental operation.

(5) When not in transit, all dental and official records shall be maintained at the official business address.

(6) The operator shall maintain a written procedure for emergency follow-up care for patients treated in a portable dental operation, which includes arrangements for treatment in a dental facility that is permanently established in the area within a 50-mile radius where services are provided subject to a qualified dentist being located in the area and subject to the dentist agreeing to provide follow-up care. An operator who either is unable to identify a qualified dentist in the area or is unable to arrange otherwise for emergency follow-up care for patients shall be obligated to provide the necessary follow-up care via the portable dental operation, or the operator may choose to provide the follow-up care at his or her established dental practice location in the state or at any other established dental practice in the state which agrees to accept the patient. An operator who fails to arrange or provide follow-up care as required herein shall be considered to have abandoned the patient, and the operator and any dentist or dental hygienist, or both, who fail to provide the referenced follow-up care shall be subject to disciplinary action by the board.

(7) The portable dental operation shall have communication abilities that enable the operator to contact necessary parties in the event of a medical or dental emergency. The communication abilities shall enable the patient or the parent or guardian of the patient treated to contact the operator for emergency care, follow-up care, or information about treatment received. The provider who renders follow-up care must also be able to contact the operator and receive treatment information, including radiographs.

(8) The portable dental operation and the dental procedures performed therein shall comply with all applicable federal and state laws and all applicable rules of the board promulgated pursuant to Section 34-9-43.

(9) The operator of a portable dental operation may not perform services on a minor without the signed consent from the parent or guardian on a form established by the board. The consent form shall request information as to whether the prospective patient has received dental care from a licensed dentist within one year and, if so, shall request the name, address, and phone number of the dental home. If the information provided to the operator does not identify a dental home for the prospective patient, the operator shall contact the Alabama Medicaid Agency for assistance in identifying a dental home for Medicaid eligible patients. If this information is provided to the operator, the operator shall contact the designated dental home by phone, facsimile, or electronic mail and notify the dental home of the prospective patient’s interest in receiving dental care from the operator. If the dental home confirms that an appointment for the prospective patient is scheduled with the dentist, the operator shall encourage the prospective patient or his or her guardian to seek care from the dental home. The consent form shall document that the patient, or legal guardian, understands the prospective patient has an option to receive dental care from either the portable dental operation or his or her designated dental home, if applicable. The consent form shall require the signature of a parent or legal guardian if the patient is a minor.

(10) Each operator of a portable dental operation shall maintain a written or electronic record detailing for each location where services are performed all of the following information:

a. The street address of the service location.

b. The dates of each session.

c. The number of patients served.

d. The types of dental services provided and the quantity of each service provided.

e. Any other information requested by rule of the board.

(11) The written or electronic record shall be made available to the board within 10 days of a request.

(12) Each portable dental operation shall possess all applicable county and city licenses or permits to operate at each location.

(f) The portable dental operation shall comply with all physical requirements and inspection criteria established by rule of the board and shall comply with the license and permit requirements of Section 34-9-13.

(g) The mobile dental facility or a portable dental operation shall be inspected by the board or its representative prior to receiving a certificate of registration. Once registered, the mobile dental facility or a portable dental operation shall be subject to periodic unannounced audits and inspections by the board.

(h) The mobile dental facility or a portable dental operation shall comply with the current recommendations for infection control practices for dentistry as promulgated by the Centers for Disease Control and any rule of the board relating to infection control or reporting in a dental office.

(i) The initial application for a certificate of registration shall include the full name, address, and telephone number of the dentists and dental hygienists working at the facility or operation. The initial application for a certificate of registration shall also include proof of insurance from a licensed insurance carrier that the operator has in force at least one million dollars ($1,000,000) of general liability insurance. The operator shall be required to maintain one million dollars ($1,000,000) of general liability insurance at all times for which the mobile dental facility or portable dental operation is licensed by the board. Governmental entities which operate mobile dental facilities or portable dental operations shall not be required to have or maintain any amount of general liability insurance. The operator shall advise the board in writing within 15 days of any change in the employment of any dentist or dental hygienist working at the facility or operation.

(j) The operator shall notify the board in writing within 10 days of any change made relating to a dentist to whom patients are to be referred for follow-up care as provided in subdivision (6) of subsection (c).

(k) The operator shall notify the board in writing within 10 days of any change in the procedure for emergency follow-up care as provided in subdivision (6) of subsection (c).

(l) At the conclusion of each patient’s visit to the mobile dental facility or a portable dental operation, the patient shall be provided with a patient information sheet which shall also be provided to any individual or entity to whom the patient has consented or authorized to receive or access the patient’s records. The information sheet shall include, at a minimum, the following information:

(1) The name of the dentist or dental hygienist, or both, who performed the services.

(2) A description of the treatment rendered, including billing service codes and fees associated with treatment and tooth numbers when appropriate.

(3) If applicable, the name, address, and telephone number of any dentist to whom the patient was referred for follow-up care and the reason for such referral.

(4) The name, address, and telephone number, if applicable, of a parent or guardian of the patient.

(m) In the event a mobile dental facility or a portable dental operation is to be sold, the current operator shall inform the board and the Alabama Medicaid Agency, if the operator is an Alabama Medicaid enrolled provider, at least 10 days prior to the sale being completed and shall be required to disclose the purchaser to the board and the Alabama Medicaid Agency, if the operator is an Alabama Medicaid enrolled provider, via certified mail within 10 days after the date the sale is finalized. The operator of a mobile dental facility or a portable dental operation shall notify the board and the Alabama Medicaid Agency, if the operator is an Alabama Medicaid enrolled provider, at least 30 days prior to cessation of operation. Such notification shall include the final day of operation and a copy of the notification shall be sent to all patients and shall include the manner and procedure by which patients may obtain their records or transfer those records to another dentist. It is the responsibility of the operator to take all necessary action to insure that the patient records are available to the patient, a duly authorized representative of the patient, or a subsequent treating dentist. For purposes of this subsection, a patient shall mean any individual who has received any treatment or consultation of any kind within two years of the last date of operation of the mobile dental facility or a portable dental operation.

(n) A mobile dental facility or a portable dental operation that accepts or treats a patient but does not refer patients for follow-up care when such follow-up care is clearly necessary, shall be considered to have abandoned the patient and will subject the operator and any dentist or dental hygienist, or both, who fails to provide the referenced follow-up care to disciplinary action by the board.

(o) In addition to the requirements of this section, any operator, dentist, or dental hygienist working or performing any services at a mobile dental facility or a portable dental operation shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter. Any violation of the provisions of this section shall subject the operator, dentist, or dental hygienist to the penalties provided in Section 34-9-18, and no order imposing penalties pursuant to Section 34-9-18 shall be made or entered except after notice and a hearing by the board with any such order being subject to judicial review.

(p) The board may promulgate rules to implement and enforce this section.

(q) A mobile dental facility or portable dental operation shall conform to all requirements of this chapter, rules promulgated by the board pursuant to this chapter, any rule or regulation promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Alabama Department of Public Health, and any applicable federal, state, or local law, regulation, guideline, or ordinance including, but not limited to, those relating to radiographic equipment, flammability, construction, sanitation, medical waste transportation, zoning, prevention of infection and disease, facility operation, and licenses or permits to operate.

(r) This section shall not apply to any mobile dental facility operated by the Alabama Department of Public Health or a local county health department.

(s) This section shall not apply to any mobile dental facility or portable dental operation which is operated during a state of emergency declared by the Governor as authorized in Section 31-9-8.

(t) It is the express intent of the Legislature that no state agency, including, but not limited to, the Alabama Medicaid Agency, shall restrict any mobile dental facility or portable dental operation which complies with the provisions outlined herein and all applicable state and federal rules from participation in its programs.

(u) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any entity which is approved as tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and employs dentists licensed in this state shall continue to be able to employ dentists licensed in this state and to provide dental services in the same manner and under the same conditions as licensed on June 7, 2008.

(Act 2008-279, p. 536, §§1, 3; Act 2011-571, p. 1165, §1; Act 2018-274, §1.)