AzDA 2013 Legislative Accomplishments

Orthodontic appliances now not taxable!

Saves patients and Dentists!

On April 17, 2013, Governor Jan Brewer signed House Bill 2259, making all orthodontic devices dispensed by a dentist exempt from the retail classification under Arizona revenue laws, and prohibiting both the state and local municipalities from imposing a tax on dentists as they dispense orthodontic appliances of any kind from their offices.

This legislation was brought about after a non-member Chandler orthodontist advised us that he was visited by a city revenue officer who undertook an audit of his books and determined through a convoluted interpretation of revenue laws, regulations and opinions that the dentist owed over $36,000 in back taxes for his sales of clear aligners.

Under the new law, neither the state nor any municipality may categorize the sales of any orthodontic appliances as a retail transaction. The law effectively treats orthodontic appliances effectively treats orthodontic appliances like eyeglasses sold by an optician.

When this issue was brought to the Council on Government Affairs, fears were expressed that this interpretation and collection efforts would spread to other dentists in Chandler and to other municipalities across Arizona. As a result, we took aggressive action to get this bill passed. Finally, the bill is retroactive, causing the orthodontist’s $36,000 in back taxes to be wiped clean! Amazingly, despite all of our efforts on his behalf, the Chandler dentist is still not a member of AzDA!

New law offers protections from business entity Interference with clinical judgment of licensees; protects them from retaliation.

Bill also sets a “Statute of Limitations” for BODEX complaints; removes age requirement for retired licenses.

Governor Brewer also approved House Bill 2513, a major initiative of the Arizona Dental Association sponsored by Representative Paul Boyer (R-20). For Representative Boyer, this was his first Bill signed into law!

The Bill corrects an oversight in the Dental Practice Act stemming from the regulation of registered business entities that was enacted in 2008.

The original language in the Dental Practice Act prohibited a registered business entity from interfering in the “professional judgment” of a licensed dentist who is employed there, but did not give the Board of Dental Examiners the authority to sanction a registered business entity for such conduct.

The language has been modified to use the more accurate term “clinical judgment” and defines a process for a licensee to notify the entity in writing of his/her concerns, requiring the entity to respond in writing within ten days.

The registered business entity is prohibited from taking any adverse employment action when a licensee exercises the provisions of this new law.

The Bill has also added a six year statute of limitations from BODEX complaints. The time frame of six years was meant to tie to the period of time that you are required to maintain records. The new law does not apply to medical malpractice cases.

Finally, in the past, the Dental Practice Act required a dentist to be 65 years of age or older to qualify for a retired license from BODEX. A retired licensee is permitted to volunteer to provide services at a charitable clinic. The law removes the age restriction so an individual can qualify for a retired license at any age.

AzDA Strongly Opposes “Direct Pay Pricing” Bill; Governor Vetoes SB1115

Provisions of vetoed bill added to another bill and keeps it alive, but dentists are exempt!

AzDA was proud to be one of the few health care professional organizations to stand up and express its strong opposition to Senate Bill 1115, sponsored by Senator Nancy Barto (R-15). The legislation would require health care practices to post the “direct pay prices” to the top 25 procedures performed in their offices. AzDA Lobbyist John MacDonald testified before the Senate Health Committee in February following up on a direct communication I sent to members of the Committee earlier in the day. John expressed grave concern that the proposal would expose dentists and other health care professionals to anti-trust prosecution. He pointed out the confusion that consumers would have, given that the price for any procedure is a function of the patient’s clinical presentation after an examination and diagnosis.

He also noted the effect the bill would have on the healthcare marketplace, and would place small businesses at a competitive disadvantage to larger organizations that can operate at lower overhead. The bill would have exempted dental practices, but seven other categories of health professionals, including medical doctors, physical therapists and chiropractors, were included. Practices of less than three individuals would also have been exempt.

AzDA expressed fear that the provisions of the bill will ultimately affect the dental profession and would be anathema to our members.

AzDA joined a coalition of other professional organizations citing these concerns and asked the Governor to veto the bill, which she did. Within a few days, the provisions of SB1115 were slightly amended to address some of the Governor’s concerns and were added on the floor of the Senate to a “must have” bill (HB2045) dealing with reimbursement methodology for hospitals under the AHCCCS program. This turn of events has complicated the effort to kill the bill, which was passed, and “watered down” provisions are now law in Arizona, but do not apply to dentists.