Dental Board Adopts One Hour Opioid Prescriber Training Requirement

Kelsey Creehan Featured News

As shared with Colorado dentists this summer, a 2019 state bill (SB19-228) added a new training requirement for all prescribers of opioids, including dentists. The training seeks to help address Colorado’s opioid crisis by requiring all prescribers of opioids to complete training in four key areas:

  • Best practices for opioid prescribing, according to the most recent version of the DORA Division Professions and Occupations’ Guidelines for the Safe Prescribing and Dispensing of Opioids;
  • Recognition of substance abuse disorders;
  • Referral of patients with substance use disorders for treatment; and
  • Use of the electronic prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP).

In early November, the Colorado Dental Board adopted rules that require at least one hour of training (out of up to four possible hours) per license renewal cycle. The adopted rule appears to require opioid training that addresses at least one of the four topics above and allows credits to be obtained through:

  • Relevant continuing education (CE) courses;
  • Self-study of relevant scholarly articles or relevant policies/guidelines;
  • Peer review proceedings that involve opioid prescribing;
  • Attendance at a relevant conference (or portion of a conference);
  • Teaching a relevant class/course; or
  • Participation in a relevant presentation such as with your practice.

Dentists must maintain documentation of the training completed.  Dentists are responsible for ensuring that the training they complete is in compliance with the requirements of the rule. The Dental Board will not provide a list of courses or advanced approval for materials. The CDA plans to make a list of training resources that may help fulfill the training requirements available to members in coming weeks.

Opioid training may not be counted toward the 30 bi-annual continuing education credits required to renew a dental license unless the course also meets all requirements for CE credits (as outlined in Dental Board Rule 1.3 (G) – primarily that the course is ADA CERP, AGD PACE, AMA Category 1 or CODA recognized). If a given training would qualify for CE credit if taken independently and also addresses at least one of the four topical areas above, it may be counted for both CE credit and to satisfy the opioid training requirement.

The opioid training requirement will take effect as an attestation for the February 2020 dental license renewal cycle. However, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies – the department that oversees the Dental Board – has indicated that no enforcement, audits or disciplinary actions related to the opioid training requirement will occur until the 2022 dental license renewal cycle. The attestation will operate similar to the check box dentists must click to attest to having completed continuing education credits each license renewal cycle. Simply check the box if you have completed the required opioid training when completing your February 2020 license renewal. Leave the box unchecked if you have not completed the opioid training (without penalty for the 2020 license renewal).

Complete exemptions from the opioid training requirements are provided for dentists who never prescribe opioids or those who have a national board certification that includes equivalent training to the Dental Board requirements (though no current board certifications in dentistry appear to meet these standards). If you qualify for an exemption, you will be able to check an exemption box under the attestation during license renewal.