Guest Opinion: House Bill 2077: Empowering Dentists and Streamlining Dental Practice in Illinois

Sep 29, 2023
Written By Dr. Maggie Schaefer Gilpin

While thousands of bills are circulating in Springfield at any given time, we are grateful to our ISDS team at the capitol that is shedding light on an important legislative development that directly impacts dental providers in Illinois. Their expertise in negotiating, monitoring, and advocating for legislation that benefits the dental profession is remarkable. House Bill 2077 brings forth significant changes that enhance the dental profession and improve the practice environment. Let's delve into the critical aspects of this bill and explore why it's crucial to support HB 2077.

  1. E-Prescription Requirement: Previously, legislation was enacted requiring all healthcare providers prescribing Controlled Substances II-IV to submit all prescriptions electronically. Over this past session, the ISDS legislative team worked with various stakeholders to further clarify the requirement.  Due to their work, beginning January 1, 2024, healthcare providers who prescribe controlled substances II-IV will be e required to send prescriptions electronically. However, the legislation outlines various exemptions from the requirement, which includes those who prescribe 150 or fewer medications. This exemption ensures that the law applies to prescribers who frequently prescribe these medications without requiring others to install expensive software systems for a small number of prescriptions.
  2. Exemptions and Flexibility: Recognizing the diverse circumstances dental providers and their patients face, HB 2077 further outlines exemptions to the electronic prescription requirement. Dentists facing financial difficulties in acquiring electronic systems, temporary electric failures, or cases where it's impractical to send prescriptions electronically are exempted from the requirement. Furthermore, the bill acknowledges the unique needs of specific patients, such as those in long-term care facilities or hospices, providing appropriate exemptions to ensure their access to necessary medications.
  3. Dental Records: HB 2077 emphasizes the importance of patient records and ensures they belong to dentists. In the event of a dental office closure, the bill mandates that dentists provide prior notice to patients, allowing the patient to obtain copies of their records. This provision promotes transparency, safeguards patient information, and supports continuity of care.
  4. Dental Practice Act Changes: One of the standout provisions of HB 2077 involves essential amendments to the Dental Practice Act. Dentists with a facility limited license, those who teach and practice at a dental school clinic, can now advertise their expertise, highlighting their specialized knowledge and capabilities. Moreover, the bill significantly empowers military dentists by streamlining the licensing process, recognizing their unique contributions, and honoring their service to our country. This critical provision ensures that our military dentists can continue to serve their communities with greater ease and recognition.

House Bill 2077 signifies a transformative milestone for dental providers in Illinois. The tireless advocacy of the Illinois State Dental Society has ensured that our voices are heard, and legislation is enacted to empower dentists and streamline the dental practice. With its provisions addressing the Dental Practice Act, dental records, and the electronic prescription requirement, this bill allows dentists, enhances patient care, and promotes the continued advancement of dentistry in our state. With the bill now approved by the Illinois General Assembly, we eagerly await Governor JB Pritzker's signature to make it law. Thank you, ISDS, for your invaluable advocacy and dedication to the dental community in Illinois.