Board of Dentistry may completely close during a state shutdown
As the prospect of a state government shutdown looms ever closer, its potential impacts are continuing to be identified. Very recent instructions to the Minnesota Board of Dentistry (BOD) identify a greater impact than had been previously expected. Therefore, the information in this email is more up to date than information you will receive in the printed and mailed MDA News in two or three days.
If there is a government shutdown, here is what you should know about what it will mean to you and the rest of the dental community.
- A government shutdown will completely shut down the Board of Dentistry beginning July 1.
- All employees of the BOD have received layoff notices effective July 1. Under a shutdown scenario, Board staff will not have access to the Board’s office, to their emails or voice mails, to the Board’s website, or to any other Board assets.
- Meetings and activities of Board members will be suspended beginning July 1. There can be no meetings of the Board itself or of its committees and all other activities of Board members will be suspended.
- During a shutdown the Board will not be able to process complaints or advance the disciplinary process.
- The entire Board of Dentistry website server will be shut down after June 30 with no access to professional or public information.
- Licenses will not be renewed during the shutdown and new licenses will not be issued during that time.
- If your license is scheduled for renewal in July (you should already have received a notice to that effect if you are in that category), you should apply for renewal immediately. If your July license renewal is not completed by June 30, you could wind up practicing without a license.
- It is unclear how practicing without a license due to a shutdown would be handled, so the best way to avoid problems is for those of you with July 2011 license renewals to make sure they are processed by the Board by June 30.
- The quickest and most certain way to renew your license on time (if you are one of those who must renew in July) is to renew electronically through the Board’s web site: www.dentalboard.state.mn.us. Otherwise, submit your relicensing paper work and payment by mailing or couriering it to the Board’s office.
- Despite the urgency of acting immediately if you are a July 2011 renewal, it is helpful to know that the Board normally allows a 60 day grace period for you to complete the renewal process if your license expires.
- See the rules of the Board of Dentistry 3100.1700, Subparts 2 and 3, for official legal information regarding license renewal.
- If you are a recent graduate seeking to receive your initial license, timing is even more critical for you. Initial licensure cannot be accomplished on-line and, since initial licensure is more labor intensive than license renewal, your license application should be submitted to the Board office ASAP if you plan on practicing dentistry during a shutdown.
- If you maintain a certificate for moderate sedation or general anesthesia and your certificate is up for renewal in July, you should act immediately to ensure that your certificate does not expire. If your sedation certificate expires, you have a 60 day grace period to complete the application process; however, you may not administer general anesthesia, deep sedation, or moderate sedation until the Board issues the appropriate certificate to you. See rules of the Board of Dentistry 3100.3600, Subparts 9 and 9a for more details regarding certification for general sedation and moderate sedation.
- If your license renewal or sedation certificate renewal occurred in April, May, or June, you are in the grace period and must complete your renewal immediately in order to make sure that you have a license to practice or to administer sedation.
Of all of the activities of all of the health licensing boards, only the services of the Health Professionals Services Program (HPSP) have been slated to continue operating. Since the Board of Dentistry is the fiscal agent for the HPSP, documents outlining the Governor’s shutdown plan show a continuation of 6.5 employees for the Board of Dentistry, but those employees are for the HPSP, not the BOD.
It should be pointed out that it is still not known whether there will be a state government shutdown, how long a shutdown would last, or what the final determination of essential services will be. Different proposals for the continuation and discontinuation of state services have been submitted to the courts and it is likely that the courts will sort out the question of what services will continue during a shutdown and what services will be closed down. If there is a shutdown, it will begin July 1.
All dentists receiving this message are strongly encouraged to share it with dental hygienists and dental assistants in your offices, so that they too may be forewarned and may take appropriate action.