(a) No person other than a dentist licensed pursuant to this chapter or a 501(c)(3) entity registered under Section 34-9-7.2 may do any of the following:
(1) Employ a dentist or dental hygienist in the operation of a dental office.
(2) Place in the possession of a dentist, dental hygienist, or other agent such dental material or equipment as may be necessary for the management of a dental office on the basis of a lease or any other agreement for compensation for the use of such material, equipment, or offices.
(3) Retain the ownership or control of dental equipment, material, or office and make the same available in any manner for the use of a dentist, dental hygienist, or other agent.
(4) The term "person," as used in this section, shall not in any way pertain to state, county, municipal, or city institutions but shall be deemed to include any individual, firm, partnership, corporation, or other entity not licensed to practice dentistry in the State of Alabama.
(5) Nothing in this subsection shall apply to bona fide sales of dental equipment, material, or office secured by a chattel mortgage or retention title agreement, or to an agreement for the rental of the equipment or office by bona fide lease at a reasonable amount, and under which agreement the licensee under this chapter maintains complete care, custody, and control of the equipment and the practice. Further, nothing in this subsection shall prohibit or restrict persons, firms, or corporations from employing or retaining licensed dentists to furnish dental treatment for their employees or dependents of their employees.
(b) A prohibited business arrangement or relationship as defined in subsection (a) shall not be considered a violation of that subsection if a prohibited arrangement or relationship results from the death of a licensed dentist and is cured within 12 months of the date of the death.
(c) The purpose of this section is to prevent a non-dentist from influencing or otherwise interfering with the exercise of a dentist's independent professional judgment. In addition to the acts specified in subsection (a), no person, other than a dentist licensed in accordance with this chapter, shall enter into a relationship with a person licensed under this chapter pursuant to which the unlicensed person exercises control over the selection of a course of treatment for a patient, the procedures or materials to be used as a part of such course of treatment, or the manner in which such course of treatment is carried out by the licensee.
(d) No person other than a dentist licensed pursuant to this chapter or a 501(c)(3) entity registered under Section 34-9-7.2 shall exercise control over any of the following:
(1) The patient records of a dentist.
(2) Policies and decisions relating to pricing, credit, refunds, warranties, and advertising.
(3) Decisions relating to office personnel and hours of practice.
(e) Any licensed or permitted dentist or dental hygienist who enters into any of the arrangements or relationships in violation of subsection (a) or subsection (c) with an unlicensed person as defined above, may be subject to any of the penalties set forth in Section 34-9-18.
Last modified: May 3, 2021