2004 Regular Session

To: Public Health and Human Services

By: Representative Moak

House Bill 1615



     SECTION 1.  This act is enacted to promote competence and excellence in the providing of prosthetic dental appliances and services related thereto to the public at reasonable costs.

     SECTION 2.  This act shall be known as the "Mississippi Freedom of Choice of Dentures Act."

     SECTION 3.  As used in this act, unless the context requires otherwise:

          (a)  "Board" means the State Board of Health.

          (b)  "Denture" means any removable full upper or lower prosthetic dental appliance to be worn in the human mouth.

          (c)  "Denturist" means a person licensed under this act to engage in the practice of denturitry.

          (d)  "Practice of denturitry" means:

              (i)  The making, fitting, constructing, altering, reproducing or repairing of a full upper or lower removable prosthetic denture, the repairing of a removable partial upper or lower prosthetic denture, the furnishing or supplying of such a denture directly to a person or advising the use of any such denture;

              (ii)  The taking or making, or the giving of advice, assistance or facilities respecting the taking or making of any impression, bite, cast or design preparatory to, or for the purpose of making, constructing, fitting, furnishing, supplying, altering, repairing or reproducing any such full upper or lower removable prosthetic denture;

              (iii)  The practice of denturitry within the context of this act requires that all work except cast framework or work required to meet the needs of the homebound be performed on the licensee's premise.

     SECTION 4.  From and after July 1, 2004, a person must hold a license for the practice of denturitry in order to perform the following acts:

          (a)  Engage or offer to engage, in the practice of denturitry; or

          (b)  Use in connection with his/her name the word "denturist" or any other words, letters, abbreviations or insignia implying that such person is engaged in the practice of denturitry.

     SECTION 5.  The prohibitions of this act do not apply to:

          (a)  A person interning under the supervision of a denturist;

          (b)  The practice of dentistry or medicine by persons authorized to do so by this state;

          (c)  A student of denture technology in pursuit of clinical studies under an approved school program;

          (d)  A denture technician, as defined by board rule, performing services under the direction of a licensed denturist or licensed dentist when the service does not involve contact with the intended user.

     SECTION 6.  A licensed denturist shall not:

          (a)  Perform procedures which would alter any oral tissues or natural teeth.

          (b)  Insert or fit immediate dentures in the mouth of the intended wearer.

          (c)  Diagnose or treat any abnormalities of any human mouth.

          (d)  Prescribe any drugs or treatment for any oral or medical diseases.

          (e)  Construct or fit orthodontic appliances.

     SECTION 7.  The Governor shall appoint one (1) licensed denturist to act in an advisory capacity to the State Board of Health on the practice of denturity.

     SECTION 8.  The State Board of Health shall have the following powers and duties:

          (a)  To determine the qualifications of persons applying for licenses under this act;

          (b)  To collect fees and charges prescribed in this act to cover the operating expenses of the board as may become necessary from time to time;

          (c)  To issue licenses for the practice of denturitry under the conditions prescribed in this act;

          (d)  To revoke or suspend denturists' licenses in the manner prescribed by this act;

          (e)  To make rules and regulations pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act to carry out the intents and purposes of this act.

     SECTION 9.  Upon application and payment of the appropriate fee, the board shall issue a license to practice denturitry to any applicant who has successfully completed a denturity course at an accredited university.  The course must have at a minimum a total of seventy-six (76) hours in class in addition to laboratory time.  The class must consist of courses in physiology and anatomy.

     SECTION 10.  The board shall be entitled to charge and collect the following fees:

          (a)  An initial license fee of not to exceed Three Hundred Dollars ($300.00); and

          (b)  A renewal fee of not to exceed Six Hundred Dollars ($600.00).

     SECTION 11. A denturist license shall be valid for a period of one (1) year, whereupon a renewal license will be issued upon payment of the renewal fee and the submission of proof of the completion of not less than twelve (12) hours continuing education accredited by the board during the one (1) year immediately preceding the date of application for renewal.  A license issued effective as of a date other than July 1 will be valid until midnight June 30 next following the date it was issued.  The license shall bear on its face the address where the licensee's denturist services will be performed.

     SECTION 12.  (1)  The board shall have the power to refuse to issue a license, suspend or revoke a license, or place a licensed person on probation for a period specified by the board and subject to such conditions as the board shall impose, or reprimand or censure a licensee for any of the following causes:

          (a)  Conviction, finding of guilt, receipt of a withheld judgment or suspended sentence in this or any other state of a felony or of any other crime where such crime bears a demonstrable relationship to the practice of denturitry.

          (b)  Incompetence or gross negligence in the practice of denturitry.

          (c)  Fraud or misrepresentation in the practice of denturitry.

          (d)  Use of any narcotic or dangerous drug or intoxicating liquor to an extent that such use impairs the ability to conduct safely the practice of denturitry.

          (e)  The violation of any provision of this act or rules adopted thereunder.

     (2)  The board shall have the power to examine and inspect the place of business of any licensed denturist at a reasonable time and in a reasonable manner to assure compliance with this act.

     (3)  The board shall have the right to establish standards of conduct and practice, and the power to enforce such standards with monetary penalties and/or revocation or suspension of license.

     SECTION 13.  A denturist whose license has been revoked either by the board or the similar body of another state, shall not be eligible to apply for a license until one (1) year after the date of revocation.

     SECTION 14.  All monies received under the provisions of this act shall be deposited in the State Treasury to the credit of the operating fund of the board and all costs and expenses incurred by the board under the provisions of this act shall be a charge against and paid from said account.  In no instance will the occupational license account be obligated to pay any claims which in aggregate with claims already paid exceed the income to the occupational license account which has been derived by the application of this act.

     SECTION 15.  Violation of any provision of this act shall constitute a misdemeanor.

     SECTION 16.  (1)  No person licensed under the provisions of this act shall directly or indirectly:

          (a)  Make any payment or gift to a person who has referred a patient;

          (b)  Receive or accept any rebate, payment or gift from any person to whom a patient is referred; or

          (c)  Engage in any form of fee-splitting or other form of sharing of remuneration, with respect to referrals.

     (2)  All denturist services will be unconditionally guaranteed for a period of not less than ninety (90) days.

     SECTION 17.  Any person who shall be aggrieved by any action of the board in denying, refusing to renew, suspending or revoking a denturist license may appeal therefrom to the district court in the county in which he/she is a resident.  Such appeal shall be perfected by filing with the clerk of the circuit court, within thirty (30) days following the action of the board of which complaint is made, a notice of appeal setting forth briefly the action complained of and wherein the petitioner has been deprived of any legal rights.  A copy of the notice of appeal shall be served upon the president or secretary of the board, and the court may sustain or reverse the action of the board or direct the board to take any further or other action with regard to the appeal.

     SECTION 18.  Whenever any person, corporation, partnership or association of any kind or nature violates any of the provisions of this act, the board, without regard to criminal prosecution, may maintain an action in the name of the State of Mississippi to enjoin said person, corporation, partnership or association from any further violations, such action to be brought either in the county in which said acts are claimed to have been or are being committed, in the county where the defendant resides, or in Hinds County.  Upon the filing of a verified complaint in the chancery court, the court, if satisfied that the acts complained of have been or probably are being or may be committed, may issue an injunction pendente lite without bond, on request of the board, enjoining the defendant from the commission of any such act or acts constituting said violations.  A copy of said complaint shall be served upon the defendant, and the proceedings shall thereafter be conducted as in any other similar civil action.  If the commission of said act or acts be established, the court shall enter a decree perpetually enjoining said defendant from committing said act or acts.  In case of violation of any injunction issued under the provisions of this section, the court, or the judge thereof at chambers, may summarily try and punish the offender for his contempt of court.

     SECTION 19.  Section 73-9-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     73-9-3.  "Dentistry" is defined as the evaluation, diagnosis, prevention and/or treatment (nonsurgical, surgical or related procedures) of diseases, disorders and/or conditions of the oral cavity, maxillofacial area and/or the adjacent and associated structures and their impact on the human body; provided by a dentist, within the scope of his or her education, training and experience, in accordance with the ethics of the profession and applicable law, provided that nothing in this section shall be so construed as to prevent:

          (a)  The practice of his or her profession by a regularly licensed and registered physician under the laws of this state unless he or she practices dentistry as a specialty; or

          (b)  The performance of mechanical work upon inanimate objects by persons working in dental offices under their supervision; or

          (c)  The operation of a dental laboratory and taking work by written work authorization from regularly licensed and registered dentists as provided for elsewhere in this chapter; or

          (d)  Dentists from outside the state from giving educational clinics or demonstrations before a dental society, convention or association; or

          (e)  Licensed dentists from outside the state from being called into Mississippi by licensed dentists of this state for consultative or operative purposes when the consultative or operative purposes have been authorized or approved by the Board of Dental Examiners for specified periods of time or as provided for by rules and regulations set forth by the board; or

          (f)  Applicants for a license to practice dentistry or dental hygiene in this state from working during an examination by and under the supervision and direction of the Board of Dental Examiners; or

          (g)  The practice of dentistry or of dental hygiene by students under the supervision of faculty in any dental school, college, or dental department of any school, college or university, or school of dental hygiene recognized by the board; or

          (h)  Dental or dental hygiene students enrolled in accredited dental or dental hygiene schools from participating in off-site training recognized and approved by the board, but those activities shall not be carried on for profit; or

          (i)  A regularly licensed and registered dentist from the delegation of procedures to a regularly licensed and registered dental hygienist or other competent dental auxiliary personnel while acting under the direct supervision and full responsibility of the dentist except as follows:  Those procedures that require the professional judgment and skill of a dentist such as diagnosis, treatment planning, surgical procedures involving hard or soft tissues, or any intra-oral procedure of an irreversible nature that could result in injury to the patient.  However, the dentist may delegate the removal of calcareous deposits only to a regularly licensed and registered dental hygienist as regulated by the State Board of Dental Examiners; or

          (j)  The practice of his profession by licensed denturist under House Bill No. ____, 2004 Regular Session.

     All dentists and dental hygienists serving as faculty, as provided for in paragraphs (g) and (h) of this section, shall be required to be licensed by the Mississippi State Board of Dental Examiners.

     SECTION 20.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2004.