2020 Legislative Preview

Kelsey Creehan Featured News

By Jennifer Goodrum, CDA Lobbyist
From the Winter 2020 Journal of the Colorado Dental Association

The CDA had a busy summer and fall with a several legislative interim committees and rulemaking processes debating changes that impact dentists and dental offices. The CDA actively engages on these topics to protect and improve the practice environment and parameters for members.

We Need You—Register Today!

2020 Dentists at the Capitol Lobby Day

Friday, Feb. 28 (morning)

Help us give dentistry a voice.

No experience needed; training is provided.

Register at https://conta.cc/35Sv7UP.

Several key issues were under consideration last year:

  • Opioid Prescribing: A state legislative task force met through summer and fall months to discuss changes that can be made to reduce opioid abuse and addiction. Additional prescriber interventions are being contemplated for the 2020 legislative session, including a potential effort to expand medications included in the PDMP (e.g., benzodiazepines, among other non-opioid medications). Additionally, the Colorado Dental Board adopted a one-hour training requirement pursuant to Senate Bill 19-228 (which authorized boards to require up to four hours of training). More information on this new requirement can be found here. Truthful attestation will be required from dentists on completion of this requirement during license renewal. However, enforcement of this training requirement will not be undertaken until 2022.
  • Medicaid, CHP+ and Senior Dental: On July 1, 2019, the annual limit for Medicaid’s adult dental benefit was increased to $1,500. In addition, the CHP+ dental benefit for pregnant moms took effect. Several rates under that state’s low income senior dental care program were increased. Additional rates are being considered for reduction in better alignment with Medicaid or CHP+ rates in coming months. These rate alignments should allow more patients to be served under the program.
  • Rectangular Collimation for X-Rays: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment finalized a two-year x-ray rulemaking revision, which included adoption of a requirement that dental offices implement and use rectangular collimation when taking dental x-rays. Get more details.
  • Amalgam Separators: In June, the CDA House of Delegates requested that a resource guide be prepared to aid CDA members in complying with the requirement by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that dental offices install amalgam separators and comply with best management practices for handling amalgam waste by mid-2020. A reference guide for amalgam separator compliance is provided here with additional resources available at cdaonline.org/amalgam.

2020 Legislative Priorities

  • Reordering the Table of Contents of the Dental Practice Act to make the document more user-friendly for dentists and dental hygienists;
  • Providing input on the sunset review report for interim therapeutic restoration/ITR and silver diamine fluoride/SDF procedures by dental hygienists;
  • Providing input on the sunset review report for the Colorado Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP);
  • Monitoring any new opioid prescribing proposals, including a potential effort to expand drugs included in the PDMP (benzodiazepines, among other non-opioid drugs);
  • Advocating for the inclusion of meaningful dental coverage in any adopted state insurance offering;
  • Securing any legislative authorizations or funding needed related to a school dental screenings pilot program; and
  • Convening a workgroup to lead stakeholder discussions around mid-level dental provider models being loosely contemplated for Colorado.

As always, the CDA will respond to additional legislation that impacts dentistry as it arises.

Upcoming Regulatory Compliance Dates

  • February 2020: Complete one hour of opioid training prior to Colorado dental license renewal
  • February 29, 2020: Renew Colorado dentist and dental hygienist licenses
  • April 2020: Apply for rural preceptor tax credit, if applicable (https://bit.ly/2PMgsVW)
  • April 30, 2020: Annual renewal of state x-ray facility registration
  • July 14, 2020: Install a compliant amalgam separator unless your office qualifies for an exception
  • October 12, 2020: File a one-time compliance report regarding amalgam discharge with your local wastewater district
  • July 1, 2023: Utilize e-prescribing software for all opioid prescribing unless exceptions are met
  • January 1, 2025: Install and utilize rectangular collimators on dental x-ray equipment

2020 is an election year, which will impact the tenor and proceedings at the state Capitol. Gov. Polis is taking a much more active role in the state policy process than his predecessor and that has required some adjustments across the political spectrum in the last year. It will be interesting to watch how the dynamic between the governor’s policy priority and legislator policy priorities continues to play out, especially in an election year. In 2020, the state will also face a budget shortfall due to constitutionally required TABOR refunds, which will constrain current programs and new initiatives. A large focus on healthcare costs is again anticipated with focus on hospitals’ cost of care, specialty drug cost and insurer policies that can increase system costs. Several initiatives that can have significant impact on businesses, like family medical leave and minimum wage, will also continue to be priority initiatives among current state leadership. The CDA will be keeping a close watch on all these developing conversations.


Jennifer Goodrum is a principal at Michael Best Strategies, LLC. Contact her at 720-398-0058 or jbgoodrum@michaelbeststrategies.com.