Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Health Professions
Board of Dentistry
Regulations Governing the Practice of Dental Hygiene [18 VAC 60 ‑ 25]
Action Continuing education for practice by remote supervision
Stage Fast-Track
Comment Period Ended on 9/5/2018
Previous Comment     Back to List of Comments
9/5/18  12:25 pm
Commenter: Emilie Bonovitch, Virginia Dental Hygiene Association- President Elect

Remote Supervision CE

On behalf of the Virginia Dental Hygienists’ Association (VDHA) that represents the 5,894 licensed dental hygienists in the Commonwealth, I would like to thank the Board of Dentistry for the opportunity to provide comment regarding the CE requirement for Remote Supervision.  We speak in support of the “no less than” 2-hour Remote Supervision Continuing Education as outlined by the Board of Dentistry. 

The specific subject areas that are covered in the Remote Supervision CE include: Intent and definitions of remote supervision; Review of dental hygiene scope of practice and delegation of services; Administration of controlled substances; Patient records/documentation/risk management; Remote Supervision laws for dental hygienists and dentists; Written practice protocols; and Settings allowed for remote supervision.

It should be noted that VDHA members developed a model Remote Supervision CE program that includes all the outlined Board of Dentistry required subject areas for the clinically experienced (minimum two (2) year clinical experience consisting of at least 2,500 hours) hygienist to take prior to practicing under Remote Supervision in collaboration with their supervising dentist.  The individuals who developed that model CE include one who has served in the Department of Health Remote Supervision program and educators from 3 of the CODA accredited Dental Hygiene programs in Virginia.  VDHA and our component organizations have provided this CE to hygienists in Virginia over the past eighteen months; it typically takes the full two hours to present and then a small period of time for question and answer discussion.

Thanks to Virginia General Assembly legislation, Virginia Department of Health dental hygienists have worked since 2009 under “remote supervision.  By 2012, the program was such a success that it was expanded throughout the Commonwealth.  When it comes to risks associated with the remote supervision model, you need look no further than the Virginia Department of Health Program.  In their 2014 Report to the Virginia General Assembly, the Virginia Department of Health reported that there have been no patient safety concerns for dental hygienists over the last seven years providing care to Virginia’s most vulnerable and any concerns about safety and efficacy should apply regardless of the income level of the recipient of care. 

In 2016 and 2017, VDHA and VDA (Virginia Dental Association) together brought forward the legislation to permit the Remote Supervision of Dental Hygienists to be extended to other hygienists who do not work in the Department of Health.  This successful collaboration resulted in legislation that extends access to dental care specifically to federally qualified health centers; charitable safety net facilities; free clinic; long-term care facilities; elementary or secondary schools; Head Start programs; or women, infants, and children (WIC) programs.

CommentID: 67056