Mandatory CE for Dentists and Dental Hygienists in Colorado

Krysia GabenskiFeatured News

From the Spring 2015 Journal of the Colorado Dental Association

During last year’s 2014 state legislative session, the Colorado Dental Practice Act was reviewed and updated pursuant to HB 14-1227, the dental sunset review bill. Substantial changes were made to the Dental Practice Act that will impact dental practices in the months and years to come. One of the key changes in this bill was the addition of a new requirement that dentists complete 30 hours of continuing education (CE) per two-year license renewal cycle. The bill also required that dentists holding an anesthesia permit complete 17 hours of CE specific to anesthesia or sedation administration during the five-year anesthesia permit renewal cycle.

Through the fall of 2014, the Colorado Dental Board met to develop the rules related to CE, among other sunset review topics. State Board rulemaking discussions addressed factors like how the CE requirement should be phased in during the first renewal cycle, certifications required by entities offering CE credits, documentation and reporting requirements, any topical areas that must be addressed in the CE hours attained, and relevant exemptions. CE rules were considered during a State Board rulemaking hearing in January 2015. The CE rules were adopted and became effective on March 30, 2015.

Dentists should be aware of the following details from the new CE rule:

CE requirements apply to any dentist who holds an active dental license, including academic dentists.
Retired and inactive licensees are exempt from this requirement.

For all dentists with active licenses, 30 hours of CE must be completed during each two-year license renewal cycle:

  • At least 16 of the 30 hours must be science-based.
  • At least 50% of hours taken must be live and interactive.
  • Current Basic Life Support (BLS) is required of all licensees and up to two hours of BLS may be counted toward the total 30 hours of required CE.
  • A dentist presenting a course may count up to six total hours of the course hours presented.
  • CE that is required as part of a disciplinary measure cannot be counted toward the required 30 hours.

For any dentist who holds an anesthesia permit, 17 hours of CE specific to anesthesia or sedation must be completed during each five-year anesthesia permit renewal cycle:

  • The 17 hours of anesthesia-related CE may be counted toward the 30-hour general CE requirement but only during the license renewal cycle when the anesthesia CE was completed.
  • Life support courses, including BLS, ACLS and PALS, cannot be counted toward the anesthesia-specific 17 CE hours required.
  • CE required as part of a disciplinary measure cannot be counted towards the anesthesia-specific 17 CE hours.

All dentists who plan to maintain an active dental license will need to take at least 30 hours of CE in accordance with the before-mentioned requirements between March 1, 2016 and Feb. 28, 2018.
Dentists will need to attest that they have taken necessary CE for the February 2018 and subsequent license renewals.
Dentists will not need to document CE taken to renew their licenses in February 2016.

For dentists, CE courses taken must be recognized or offered by one of the following groups:

  • American Dental Association (ADA) Continuing Education Recognition Program (CERP)
  • Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) Program Approval for Continuing Education (PACE)
  • American Medical Association (AMA) Physician Recognition Award (PRA) as Category 1 Credit
  • Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) accredited institution

Once the course is completed, dentists should obtain documentation from the course that includes course sponsor, course title, date(s), hours, and the course verification of completion certificate or form. These records should be kept on file for at least two license renewal cycles after the course was completed.

The State Board will perform audits to verify compliance. If dentists are audited, they will need to produce the required documentation to prove that hours were completed in accordance with the CE rule requirements.

CE Requirements for Dental Hygienists
The CE rules outlined in this article for dentists also apply to dental hygienists in Colorado. The primary difference in CE rules for dental hygienists is the list of recognized CE providers. In addition to CE providers recognized for dentists, dental hygienists may also claim CE credit for courses offered by:

  • American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and its constituents and component societies
  • Local, state, regional, national, or international dental, dental hygiene, dental assisting, medical related professional organization, or study group that has a sound scientific basis, proven efficacy, and ensures public safety

A complete copy of the new Board CE rules can be accessed here.