What is the Diversion Program?
It is a confidential program for the rehabilitation of licensed dental professionals whose competency may be impaired due to use of dangerous drugs or alcohol (i.e., chemical dependency). It provides individuals with help and alternatives. Program services include:
- Confidential consultation with professionals in the field of substance use disorders.
- Intervention services.
- Assessment of treatment needs and referral to appropriate resources.
- Assistance in the development of a recovery plan.
- Monitoring of compliance.
- Encouragement and peer support.
The Diversion Program accepts referrals on a voluntary basis. Licensees can also be referred by the Board or through the formal disciplinary process.
The Diversion Program must comply with Business and Professions Code section 1695.5. The program accepts licensed dentists, registered dental assistants, and registered dental assistants in extended functions.
Why the program?
By helping a licensee deal with an alcohol or drug problem, the program protects the public, rehabilitates the licensee, and supports access to care by enabling the rehabilitated licensee to keep their license.
Dental professionals are at risk of substance abuse disorders due to the availability of drugs in the workplace and to the work-related stresses that accompany a practice. Any licensed dental professional in California can seek assistance and ask to be admitted into the program by calling (800) 522-9198. This toll-free number is open 24 hours a day. All requests for information and assistance are strictly confidential. Records maintained by the program are confidential and not subject to discovery or subpoena. However, in compliance with BPC section 1695.5(f), program records may be provided to the Board’s enforcement program or used in a disciplinary proceeding if the licensee fails to comply with the requirements of the program or is determined to be a threat to the public or to their own health and safety. If the licensee tests positive for a banned substance, the positive test result will be provided to the Board’s enforcement program and may be used in a disciplinary proceeding.
What happens after I call?
After a dental professional contacts the program, arrangements will be made for a confidential evaluation by a licensed professional. After the evaluation, the individual will meet with the Board’s Diversion Evaluation Committee (DEC) for formal acceptance into the program. The DEC members, who are appointed by the Board, are fellow dental professionals and experts in the field of substance use disorders. They are dedicated to helping dental professionals overcome substance abuse.