Dental Hygiene Board of California (DHBC) Coronavirus Updates

May 14, 2020

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released this information to keep dental practitioners safe while returning to dental practice. Here is the link to their press release:

https://www.osha.gov/news/newsreleases/national/05112020


May 12, 2020

RETURN TO WORK INFORMATION FOR DENTAL HYGIENISTS

The Dental Hygiene Board of California understands and is sympathetic to the uncertain environment that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created for our licensees. Our mandate is to ensure the health and safety of California consumers by promoting ethical standards and enforcing the laws that govern the dental hygiene profession.

As of May 8, the Governor’s stay home order was modified. California is now in the first phase of Stage 2. Under Stage 2, deferred and preventive dental care may be resumed. Those performing these activities will not be violating the stay home order.

Considering the order modification, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued Guidance for Resuming Deferred and Preventative Dental Care. The Board believes the resumption of deferred and preventative dental care can be successfully completed if the guidelines are followed. We want dental hygienists to return to work as quickly as possible, but in the safest possible manner for all involved including practitioners and patients alike.

We thank you for your patience and all you do for the consumer in providing preventative dental hygiene care and education. Be safe and well.


May 3, 2020

The link below provides important information from the California Dental Hygienists’ Association (CDHA) about dental practice and adhering to Governor Newsom’s Stay-at-Home Order with links to agencies regarding COVID-19 pandemic and possible return-to-work issues. Please also review the Board’s prior posted link to the California Department of Public Health’s memo about Resuming California’s Deferred and Preventive Health Care.
https://files.constantcontact.com/fae14099001/1ab0ad52-0673-44ef-8006-4ceffdd4e9ca.pdf


April 29, 2020

Information on Resuming California’s Deferred and Preventative Health Care


April 27, 2020

Are you struggling to pay your rent during the COVID-19 pandemic? Here’s what you need to know. https://twitter.com/CAbcsh/status/1253811283947737088

Tiene dificultades para pagar el alquiler durante la pandemia de COVID-19? Esto es lo que necesita saber. https://twitter.com/CAbcsh/status/1253811427577442304

If you have a private student loan and are struggling to make your payments due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for payment relief. Please click here for more information: https://dbo.ca.gov/private-student-loans-faq/


April 15, 2020

Dental Hygiene Clinical examinations – many of the clinical examinations administered by WREB and CRDTS have been cancelled and rescheduled for a future date due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The schedules are tentative depending upon the shelter-in-place and limit on gatherings orders approved by the Governor. Please check the examination schedules at the exam administrator’s respective websites for further information at: www.wreb.org and www.crdts.org

Dental Hygiene Law and Ethics examinations for RDH and RDHAP applicants – PSI, the administrator of the examination, has resumed testing at their sites on a limited basis for those applicants who are deemed qualified. The testing locations are as follows:

PSI has opened scheduling for the following twelve sites:

  • Atascadero, CA
  • El Monte - Santa Fe Springs, CA
  • Riverside - Mission Grove, CA
  • Santa Clara, CA
  • Santa Rosa, CA
  • Ventura, CA
  • Visalia, CA
  • Agoura Hills, CA
  • Lawndale, CA
  • Redding, CA
  • Sacramento, CA
  • San Francisco, CA

Various days are available at the twelve specified sites above, so please contact the chosen site for further testing information and to schedule a date.


April 7, 2020

The Dental Hygiene Board has been in communication with the Department of Public Health and they have provided the information below. The link and information pertains to the Guidance for Dentistry information posted on the CDPH website.

https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/GuidanceforDentistry.aspx.

This guidance is based on what is currently known about the transmission and severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the implications for dental practice. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) will update this guidance as additional information becomes available.

This document aims to provide statewide guidance regarding the treatment of patients with dental emergencies. In alignment with the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Dental Hygienists, we recommend the postponement of routine procedures, surgeries, and non-urgent dental visits during this period of the pandemic. Limiting dental practices to treating patients with emergencies will both reduce the risk of COVID-19 disease exposure and preserve the nation’s limited personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies.

Background

According to the CDC, COVID-19 is a new disease and is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Dental procedures that use dental instruments (such as handpieces and ultrasonic scalers) and air-water syringes create a spray that can contain contaminated droplets. This spray can also contain aerosols. Therefore, caring for patients with COVID-19 requires Transmission-Based Precautions that are in addition to Standard Precautions. Therefore, we recommend that dental health care personnel:

  • Postpone routine procedures, surgeries, and non-urgent dental visits and direct patients to call the office for guidance if they feel they have a dental emergency. All dentists should be available for emergencies of their patients of record or have arranged coverage with another provider. Guidance from the ADA can be found on the ADA website (PDF).
  • Perform only those procedures that are needed to treat dental emergencies (e.g., uncontrolled bleeding, severe pain, trauma, cellulitis). The urgency of a procedure is a decision based on clinical judgment and should be made on a case-by-case basis. Guidance from the ADA can be found on the ADA website (PDF).
  • Screen all patients before they enter the dental office for COVID-19 risk, including fever, respiratory symptoms or potential exposure and triage appropriately. Patients with fever, respiratory symptoms or potential COVID-19 exposure who need to enter the dental office for urgent consultation should be provided a surgical mask and isolated from others.

March 30, 2020

This link will provide additional and up to date information for COVID-19 pandemic. Please go to: www.covid19.ca.gov Thank you.


March 20, 2020

Due to recommendations and guidance from local and state health officials to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), our headquarters building is closed to the public until further notice. However, our office remains open for employees during this pandemic. During this time you may experience some delays in reaching staff and we appreciate your patience. We apologize for any inconvenience. Please email us with any questions at dhbcinfo@dca.ca.gov.

If you need to renew your existing license, would like to apply for a new license, or make changes to your information, we strongly encourage you to log onto your BreEZe account at www.BreEZe.ca.gov. If you would like to file a complaint, we strongly encourage you to do so by visiting https://www.dca.ca.gov/consumers/complaints/consumer.shtml.

If you need to make a payment, we encourage you to do so online or send a check or money order to: Dental Hygiene Board of California, 2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 2050, Sacramento, CA 95815.


March 20, 2020

While California continues to navigate the uncertainty of Novell Coronavirus (COVID-19) and limit its spread, the Dental Hygiene Board of California (DHBC) is committed to supporting our licensees, applicants, and consumers throughout the course of this pandemic and to provide continuity of service at all times. The DHBC is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation, coordinating with the state and local governments, and working with our partners to protect the health of Californians.

The DHBC understands the ability to perform your jobs with a license is a priority. We appreciate your patience as we work on implementing new technologies to work remotely and adhere to social distancing guidelines. We apologize in advance for any delays in reaching our staff or potential delays in our processing times.

We have received a number of inquiries from our licensees. We are providing the below FAQ’s in an effort to provide information.

The best general guidance will continue to come from the California Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will Continuing Education Requirements Be Postponed?
At this time the law does not allow this.

2. Are There Fee Waivers Available?
At this time the law does not allow this.

3. Should My Business or Practice Remain Open?
The DHBC does not have authority to close businesses or practices as a result of COVID-19 or any other reason. We strongly encourage you to assess whether your business is an essential job function as outlined by the Governor and follow the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Check with your local county health department to determine what activities are also considered essential and non-essential.

4. If I continue to practice dental hygiene, what information can the Board provide to help keep myself and my patients safe?
The Board has provided several links to experts who have the latest information about the Coronavirus. The three links above and these two links to agencies that can provide the latest information can help you to be informed. California Department of Industrial Relations – Cal/OSHA: www.dir.ca.gov/DOSH/ and the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency www.labor.ca.gov

5. My Exam Was Canceled and I’m Unable to Reschedule. What Does that Mean?
The DHBC is in communication with PSI so that we are informed of when the Law and Ethics examinations administered through their computer systems will resume. The testing centers have been temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. PSI contact information is available in the candidate handbook sent to examinees prior to registering for the exam to obtain the latest information.

6. I am licensed in a state outside of California. Does California allow licensing reciprocity during the State of Emergency?
If you are a licensed healthcare provider in a state other than California, please visit the Emergency Medical Services Authority (https://emsa.ca.gov/covid19/) for information to be able to practice in California. Please visit the “Authorization of Out-Of-State Medical Personnel” section on this website (this is for medical information only and does not pertain to dental hygiene).

The DHBC reminds all licensees to be particularly mindful and respectful that this is a time of high anxiety for all Californians.

We encourage any other inquiries to be sent through email to: dhbcinfo@dca.ca.gov as a response time may be faster.


ATTENTION DENTAL HYGIENE BOARD OF CALIFORNIA APPLICANTS – UPDATE ON PSI TEST SITES

The Dental Hygiene Board has been notified that PSI has made the difficult decision to close their owned and operated test centers to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Please see the message from the PSI CEO related to these closures here: https://www.psionline.com/blog/psi-services-ceo-owned-and-operated-test-center-closures-in-the-us.

Effective immediately, candidates can reschedule up to and including the day of testing at no penalty and no documentation required. NOTE: In most cases, candidates can reschedule their examinations on-line and they are encouraged to do so. If a candidate chooses to reschedule through the PSI candidate support call center, hold times are expected to be extensive under the current circumstances. The PSI test sites in the United States will close starting the end of day today, March 19 until April 13. PSI will be calling all scheduled candidates that are not registered with an email address. A PSI staff person will be calling candidates starting today through Saturday. After that, an automated phone message will be used to contact candidates. The PSI toll-free line is averaging 4,000 calls per hour. Candidates should expect an unprecedented delay in reaching a live person. The online tool is available to candidates for rescheduling.

The closure of these PSI locations will impact Dental Hygiene Board applicants eligible to take the following examinations:

  • Registered Dental Hygienist Law and Ethics Examination
  • Registered Dental Hygienist in Alternative Practice Law and Ethics Examination