New medical emergency law targets dental offices

By staff writers

December 18, 2009 -- Illinois has become the first state in the U.S. to enact a law requiring all dental offices in Illinois to have a written medical emergency plan in place.

The new law, Public Act 96-748, takes effect January 1, 2010, according to an update in the Illinois Dental News (IDN), the official publication of the Illinois State Dental Society (ISDS). It amends the Illinois Dental Practice Act by adding a section concerning emergency medical plans and automated external defibrillators (AEDs).

The legislation was introduced by Rep. Daniel Burke (D-Chicago) in response to two highly publicized anesthesia-related deaths that occurred in Illinois dental offices in the last few years, ISDS Director of Professional Services Greg Johnson told IDN.

As a general rule, the law will not apply to dentists using local anesthetics (such as lidocaine or articaine) for routine dental care in infiltration and block anesthesia. While Rep. Burke’s original legislation would have required all Illinois dental offices to have an AED, ISDS negotiated with the lawmaker so that only offices that have either a permit A or B for anesthesia will be required to have an AED, according to the IDN story.

In addition, the law does not stipulate what should be included in a plan, only that the plan must include staff responsibilities and office protocol for emergency procedures.

The ISDS is offering a sample medical emergency plan to help members formulate their own plan and has endorsed two companies to help members develop an emergency response plan: the Institute of Medical Emergency Preparedness and Code Red, a national training center for the American Heart Association and a distributor for AEDs.

The Illinois State Board of Dentistry has been charged with enforcing the new law, according to IDN.

Copyright © 2009

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