The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) mailed a letter to dentists in July 2010 regarding continuing education (CE) requirements, along with a copy of its Medical X-ray Procedures Operator Training Guide. The Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) noted that the letter caused confusion within the dental community about whether or not dentists and staff need to comply with this training guide.
25. Pa Code, Section 221.11(b), which is referenced in the letter, requires that dentists and their staff (those that are involved with x-ray procedures) maintain CE in radiation safety, biological effects of radiation, quality assurance and quality control. These regulations carry the full weight of the law and can be enforced by DEP inspectors. However, this regulation does not establish any specific minimum amount of CE that must be completed.
The DEP’s training guide states that one way for dentists and their staff to be in compliance with the regulation is by obtaining two contact hours of CE every four years. The training guide issued by DEP is simply a guide. It is one way that dentists and their staff can comply with the regulation, but the guide does not carry the weight of the law. There are other ways to demonstrate compliance (any number of courses would qualify, all of which could take a different length of time to complete).
PDA’s Environmental Issues Committee is currently in the process of developing CE resources for PDA members to assist with compliance. Visit www.padental.org.