Summary: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 855 into law, incorporating AAO’s model teledentistry language. The law requires specific patient information, a primary dentist responsible for telehealth treatments, and in-person exams. AAO, FAO, and FDA led this effort, marking a significant patient health and safety victory.

Key Takeaways

  • New Requirements: The law mandates in-person exams, specific patient information, and primary dentist responsibility for telehealth treatments.
  • Legislative Success: House Bill 855 passed unanimously in both the Florida House and Senate.
  • Ongoing Advocacy: AAO and partners will continue advocating for patient safety nationwide.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) announced that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 855, which includes AAO’s model teledentistry language, into law.

A multi-year effort to pass the law was led by the AAO in partnership with the Florida Association of Orthodontists (FAO) and Florida Dental Association (FDA). The AAO called it a win for patient health and safety in Florida that builds on AAO legislation in Nevada that became law in 2023.

New Teledentistry Law Requirements

Effective July 1, Florida law requires:

  • Every dentist and certain individuals, partnerships, corporations, and other entities to provide specified information to certain patients
  • A dentist of record to remain primarily responsible for all dental treatments for a patient treated through telehealth
  • Advertisements of dental services provided through telehealth to include a specified disclaimer for certain dental services
  • An in-person examination and review of x-rays from the last 12 months prior to the movement of teeth

AAO Advocacy and Legislative Progress

“The AAO and FAO working successfully for a strong teledentistry law in Florida will help momentum grow for similar legislation in other states as AAO continues to play offense around the country,” said Nathan Mick, AAO vice president of advocacy.

Senate Bill 302, sponsored by Senator Jim Boyd, was introduced in November 2023 for the 2024 session. Its companion bill, House Bill 855, was introduced by Representatives Lawrence McClure and Kim Berfield in December 2023, requiring an in-person examination and “a dentist of record to remain primarily responsible for all dental treatments for a patient treated through telehealth.”

Legislative Process and Coalition Effort

In February, SB302 unanimously passed through three Senate committees. Similarly, HB855 unanimously passed through all referred committees, including the Florida House Health and Human Services Committee, before then passing unanimously in the full House. The House version of the legislation, HB855, was then sent to the full Senate floor, where it passed unanimously on March 5 and was eventually sent to Governor DeSantis.

Gratitude and Future Advocacy

Legislation like this typically takes years to pass in Florida. The AAO extended its gratitude to the many coalition partners in this effort, including the FAO and the Florida National Advocacy Network team. The AAO also thanked the AAO Component Legal Support Fund, AAO Advocacy staff members, and AAO’s team of local lobbyists in Florida at Johnston & Stewart, who have championed the AAO’s advocacy priorities in Florida on behalf of AAO members and their patients.

Protecting Patient Health and Safety

The AAO stated that it will continue to work with its coalition partners on implementing the new law and champion patient health and safety in Florida and across the country.