Upon the incapacity or death of a dentist, if certain requirements discussed below are met, any of the following persons (individually a “Specified Person,” and collectively “Specified Persons”) may employ licensees and dental assistants and charge for the professional services they render for a period not to exceed 12 months from the date of the dentist’s death or incapacity without being deemed to be practicing dentistry under current law:
(1) The legal guardian, conservator, or authorized representative of an incapacitated dentist.
(2) The executor or administrator of the estate of a dentist who is deceased.
(3) The named trustee or successor trustee of a trust or subtrust that owns assets consisting only of the incapacitated or deceased dentist’s dental practice and that was established solely for the purpose of disposition of the dental practice upon the dentist’s incapacity or death.
Provided, however, the Specified Persons shall not interfere with, control, or otherwise direct the professional judgment of a licensee or dental assistant acting within his or her scope of practice as defined in this chapter.
Where the dental practice of an incapacitated or deceased dentist is a sole proprietorship or where an incapacitated or deceased dentist is the sole shareholder of a professional dental corporation, a Specified Person may enter into a contract with one or more dentists licensed in the state to continue the operations of the incapacitated or deceased dentist’s dental practice for a period of no more than 12 months from the date of death or incapacity, or until the practice is sold or otherwise disposed of, whichever occurs first, if all of the following conditions are met:
(1) The Specified Person delivers to the California Dental Board (hereinafter “board”) a notification of death or incapacity that includes all of the following information:
(A) The name and license number of the deceased or incapacitated dentist.
(B) The name and address of the dental practice.
(C) If the dentist is deceased, the name, address, and tax identification number of the estate or trust.
(D) The name and license number of each dentist who will operate the dental practice.
(E) A statement that the information provided is true and correct, and that the Specified Person understands that any interference by the person or by his or her assignee with the contracting dentist’s or dentists’ practice of dentistry or professional judgment is grounds for immediate termination of the operations of the dental practice without a hearing. The statement shall also provide that if the Specified Person required to make this notification willfully states as true any material fact that he or she knows to be false, he or she shall be subject to a civil penalty of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000) in an action brought by any public prosecutor. A civil penalty imposed under this subparagraph shall be enforced as a civil judgment.
(2) The dentist or dentists who will operate the practice shall be licensed by the board and that license shall be current, valid, and shall not be suspended, restricted, or otherwise the subject of discipline.
(3) Within 30 days after the death or incapacity of a dentist, the Specified Person or the contracting dentist or dentists shall send notification of the death or incapacity by mail to the last known address of each current patient of record with an explanation of how copies of the patient’s records may be obtained. This notice may also contain any other relevant information concerning the continuation of the dental practice. The failure to comply with the notification requirement within the 30-day period shall be grounds for terminating the operation of the dental practice under subdivision (b). The contracting dentist or dentists shall obtain a form signed by the patient, or the patient’s guardian or legal representative, that releases the patient’s confidential dental records to the contracting dentist or dentists prior to use of those records.
(b) The board may order the termination of the operations of a dental practice operating pursuant to this section if the board determines that the practice is operating in violation of this section. The board shall provide written notification at the address provided pursuant to subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a). If the board does not receive a written appeal of the determination that the practice is operating in violation of this section within 10 days of receipt of the notice, the determination to terminate the operations of the dental practice shall take effect immediately. If an appeal is received in a timely manner by the board, the executive officer of the board, or his or her designee, shall conduct an informal hearing. The decision of the executive officer or his or her designee shall be mailed to the practice no later than 10 days after the informal hearing, is the final decision in the matter, and is not subject to appeal under the Administrative Procedure Act.
(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (b), if the board finds evidence that the Specified Person, or his or her assignee, has interfered with the practice or professional judgment of the contracting dentist or dentists or otherwise finds evidence that a violation of this section constitutes an immediate threat to the public health, safety, or welfare, the board may immediately order the termination of the operations of the dental practice without an informal hearing.
(d) A notice of an order of immediate termination of the dental practice without an informal hearing, as referenced in subdivision (b), shall be served by certified mail on the Specified Person at the address provided pursuant to subparagraph (B) or (C) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a), as appropriate, and on the contracting dentist or dentists at the address of the dental practice provided pursuant to subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a).
(e) A person receiving notice of an order of immediate termination pursuant to subdivision (d) may petition the board within 30 days of the date of service of the notice for an informal hearing before the executive officer or his or her designee, which shall take place within 30 days of the filing of the petition.
(f) A notice of the decision of the executive officer or his or her designee following an informal hearing held pursuant to subdivision (b) shall be served by certified mail on the Specified Person at the address provided pursuant to subparagraph (B) or (C) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a), as appropriate, and on the contracting dentist or dentists at the address of the dental practice provided pursuant to subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a).
(g) The board may require the submission to the board of any additional information necessary for the administration of this section.