Pictured: Dr. Frank DeQuattro, Dr. John (Jack) Kacewicz, Sean Murphy (Associate General Counsel, AAO), and Dr. Mike Ferry (President, RIAO).
In January, the Rhode Island Department of Health held a public hearing regarding proposed amendments to Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Dentists – Dental Hygienists – and Dental Assistants. With over fifty pages of proposed revisions, there were definitely sections applicable to Rhode Island orthodontists. Realizing this, the leadership of the Rhode Island Association of Orthodontists (RIAO) applied for legal help through the AAO’s Component Legal Support Fund, which was quickly approved by the AAO’s Board of Trustees.
As a result, Sean Murphy, the AAO’s Associate General Counsel, testified in support of the RIAO’s positions. Overall, Mr. Murphy stressed the benefits of certified orthodontic assistants (under an orthodontist’s supervision) being able to place/remove bonded orthodontic attachments and cement/remove orthodontic bands (which certified assistants were previously unable to do). Mr. Murphy also highlighted the efficiencies of allowing orthodontic assistants to perform digital scans and impressions under an orthodontist’s supervision. The Rhode Island Department of Health considered Mr. Murphy’s comments and other public comments while finalizing its new Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Dentists – Dental Hygienists – and Dental Assistants.
On June 4, Rhode Island’s new Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Dentists – Dental Hygienists – and Dental Assistants (http://sos.ri.gov/documents/archives/regdocs/released/pdf/DOH/8618.pdf) went into effect, incorporating the comments Mr. Murphy made on behalf of the RIAO. Under the new rules, orthodontic assistants (under an orthodontist’s supervision) are now able to place/remove bonded orthodontic attachments and cement/remove orthodontic bands. See 216-RICR-40-05-2.10.2(A)(2)(b). In addition, orthodontic assistants in Rhode Island can take digital scans and digital impressions under an orthodontist’s supervision. See 216-RICR-40-05-2.10.3(B)(5). After seeing that the RIAO’s comments had been successfully incorporated, Dr. Jack Kacewicz, part of RIAO leadership, commented:
“With the assistance of the AAO Associate General Counsel Sean Murphy, and with the support of the AAO Component Legal Support Fund we were successful in helping to contribute to the rewriting of the RI Department of Health’s Rules and Regulations pertaining to “delegable” duties of orthodontic assistants. I would like to thank Sean Murphy for his invaluable guidance, the AAO House of Delegates for the wisdom and foresight in forming the Component Legal Support Fund, and the AAO Board of Trustees for approving our request for support. I speak for all of the orthodontists in Rhode Island in expressing our gratitude to our orthodontic association, from the national level to our wonderful constituent Society of Orthodontists of NESO, for providing us with the knowledge and resources in our time of need. There are many times that I hear the question from an AAO Member on why do we pay our dues and what are we getting for those dollars? To all of my orthodontic colleagues this is the perfect example of the benefit of being an AAO, NESO and RIAO Member.”
The AAO Component Legal Support Fund, established by a vote of the 2015 House of Delegates, provides grants to component organizations to assist with state legal and legislative issues that impact orthodontic practices. If your state has a pending legislative or regulatory issue that could use the AAO’s help, please reach out to your component’s leadership and encourage them to submit a Component Legal Support Fund application. For any other information about the legal support fund, please contact Sean Murphy, AAO Associate General Counsel, at email@example.com.