The ATDA congratulates the North Dakota legislature on passing – and Governor Burgum for signing – House Bill 1151 during their 2021 legislative session. This legislation is a comprehensive and permissive teledentistry statute that accomplishes the twin goals of protecting patients from harm while ensuring that important quality oral health care services are accessible to North Dakotans through teledentistry. The ATDA worked closely with stakeholders – including the North Dakota Dental Association and teledentistry industry partners – throughout the entire process and ultimately drafted the compromise language that is reflected in the now-codified legislation despite the efforts put forth by the American Association of Orthodontists and Align Technology that could be viewed as anti-consumer and anti-competitive.
House Bill 1151, amongst other things, does the following:
- Holds all dentists – regardless of the service delivery modality – to the same standard of care.
- Allows for the establishment of a patient-dentist relationship via telehealth technology.
- Includes important patient protections regarding the continuance of care should a patient need in-person follow up care.
- Prohibits any dentist – both traditional and those using telehealth – from requiring a patient to sign away their right to file a complaint with the Board.
This legislation is proof of how the teledentistry industry and state dental associations can work collaboratively to find comprehensive compromise language that ensures patient safety while encouraging technological innovations through a competitive and patient-centered environment in the state that allows patients to receive the oral health care they want, need, and deserve in a way that is effective and convenient for them.
The ATDA looks forward to continuing to work with the North Dakota dental community in the hopes that teledentistry can continue to be a viable reality for the rural, working-class, and underserved communities in the state.