House Bill No. 302

Introduced By Bohlinger

A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act requiring a program of assistance and rehabilitation for A PROTOCOL FOR REFERRING dentists who are impaired by habitual intemperance or drug use TO A REHABILITATION PROGRAM; providing for the reporting of impaired dentists; providing for notification to the board of dentistry of a dentist failing to cooperate with the assistance and rehabilitation program REFERRAL; and authorizing the board of dentistry to compel a dentist to participate in an evaluation to determine impairment."

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:

NEW SECTION. Section 1.  Rehabilitation program. The board shall establish a program to assist and rehabilitate PROTOCOL FOR THE REFERRAL TO A BOARD-APPROVED REHABILITATION PROGRAM FOR licensed dentists who are found to be physically or mentally impaired by habitual intemperance or the excessive use of addictive drugs, alcohol, or any other drug or substance or by mental illness or chronic physical illness.

NEW SECTION. Section 2.  Report of incompetence or unprofessional conduct. (1) Notwithstanding any provision of state law dealing with confidentiality, each licensed dentist, professional standards review organization, and the Montana dental association or any component society of the association shall, and any other person may report to the board any information that the dentist, organization, association, society, or person has that appears to show that a dentist is:

(a)  medically incompetent;

(b)  mentally or physically unable to safely engage in the practice of dentistry; or


(2)  (a) Information that relates to possible physical or mental impairment connected to habitual intemperance or THE excessive use of addictive drugs, alcohol, or any other drug or substance by a licensee or to other mental or chronic physical illness of a licensee may be reported to the appropriate personnel of the program established ENDORSED by the board under [section 1] in lieu of reporting directly to the board.

(b)  The program personnel referred to in subsection (2)(a) shall report to the board the identity of a licensee and all facts and documentation in their possession if:

(i)  the licensee fails or refuses to comply with a reasonable request that the licensee undergo a mental, physical, or chemical dependency evaluation or a combination of evaluations;

(ii) the licensee fails or refuses to undergo a reasonable course of treatment that they recommend, including reasonable aftercare;

(iii) the licensee fails or refuses to satisfactorily complete a reasonable evaluation, a course of treatment, or aftercare; OR

(iv) the licensee's condition creates a risk of harm to the licensee, a patient, or others; or

(v)  they are in possession of information that appears to show that the licensee has or is engaged in unprofessional conduct.

(3)  This section applies to professional standards review organizations only to the extent that the organizations are not prohibited from disclosing information under federal law.

NEW SECTION. Section 3.  Compelling licensee evaluation. The board has the right to compel an evaluation of a licensee, after notice to the licensee and a hearing if requested by the licensee, based on information reported pursuant to [section 2]. The evaluation must be conducted at a facility authorized to conduct evaluations under the A program established REFERRED TO in [section 1].

NEW SECTION. Section 4.  Immunity of person providing information. A person, organization, association, society, or health care facility that in good faith provides information to the state board of dentistry pursuant to [section 2] is not subject to suit for civil damages as a result of providing the information.

NEW SECTION. Section 5.  Codification instruction. [Sections 1 through 4] are intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 37, chapter 4, and the provisions of Title 37, chapter 4, apply to [sections 1 through 4].