Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed HB 2056 into law, making teledentistry services available in Texas. The law defines the practice of teledentistry as well as who can perform it. Among other provisions, the law:
- Requires informed consent from the patient
- Mandates confidentiality
- Empowers the Texas Medical Board and State Board of Dental Examiners to enact appropriate rules
- Establishes a standard of care
- Outlines licensing requirements
- Promotes care for underserved areas
- Sets up rules for Medicaid coverage of teledentistry
- Asks for biennial reports on telemedicine’s effectiveness
- Addresses teledentistry’s use in treating children with special needs
DialCare, the telemedicine affiliate company of Careington International Corporation, said it worked with sponsors Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) and Rep. Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth) as well as with lobbyist Andrea McWilliams of McWilliams Governmental Affairs Consultants to ensure HB 2056’s passage.
Noting that the bill passed during a challenging and gridlocked legislative session that had one of the lowest bill passage rates in state history, DialCare said it started working with Perry before the session began and provided significant input for each draft even before the bill was filed.
“I appreciate the stakeholders, including DialCare, coming together to find common ground to support the passage of this important legislation to move Texas forward,” said Klick, who also serves as chair of the House Public Health Committee.
DialCare said that its teledentistry program offers 24/7/365 virtual access to licensed dentists via phone of video consultation for advice and guidance on oral health concerns and second opinions. Texas is now the forty-ninth state where teledentistry services can operate.
“DialCare saw the importance of changing Texas law to allow Texans to access remote dentistry services, so we began working with the Legislature to address this issue more than a year ago,” said Barbara Fasola, CEO of DialCare. “We are excited that teledentistry will now be available to everyone in the state which we so proudly call our home.”
DialCare president Jeremy Hedrick testified in support of the bill, attended stakeholder meetings, and met with legislators and staff. The company said that he also worked closely with Perry to work through contentious issues and to convey the importance of the bill up until its passage.
“DialCare truly appreciates the opportunity to be involved in the passing of the teledentistry bill into law,” said Hedrick. “Now, Texans will be able to connect with dentists by phone or video consultation for advice on their oral health concerns, conveniently and affordably.”
“Throughout the COVID-19 shutdowns, patient access to telehealth services became essential. The Legislature responded by adding dentistry to the Texas telehealth statute,” said Perry.
“Teledentistry better connects patients with their dentists by allowing them to offer services beyond the brick and mortar office. By passing this law, more underserved Texans will have better access to preventative dental care and be able to live a healthier life through the care they will receive,” Perry said.
“It was an honor to work closely with the legislators who shepherded this bill through the arduous process of becoming law,” said McWilliams. “I personally want to congratulate Senator Perry and Representative Klick on this tremendous accomplishment.”