Dec. 1, 2017 Issue

In the States

  • by AGD Washington Advocacy Representative
  • Jun 30, 2017

In Pennsylvania, the State Board of Dental Examiners has proposed a regulation seeking to expand the practice settings in which public health dental hygiene practitioners (PHDHP) can provide hygiene services without dentist supervision to include physicians’ offices.  The Pennsylvania AGD has stated their opposition to the Board, citing inconsistencies with current approved PHDHP settings, notably, the lack of a public health need necessarily associated with a physician’s office location.

The Board will be meeting next July 28, 2017.

In Washington, SB 5322 was signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee.  The law, with an effective date of July 23, 2017, confirms that dentists have the option to contract for administrative support services and that only dentists licensed in Washington can own dental practices in the state.  Also, the law prohibits any third party from interfering with dentists’ independent clinical judgement, such as imposing limitations on the amount of time a dentist spends with a patient, placing conditions on the number of patients a dentist must treat in a certain period of time, and limiting a dentist’s ability to decide on a treatment course for a patient, among others.

In New York, S.3939 passed the New York Senate.  The bill, introduced by New York Senator Catharine M. Young, seeks to add dentists to the Doctors Across New York program.  Currently, the program provides physicians practicing in underserved communities for five years with funds for student loan repayment.  The amount awarded can be up to $150,000, distributed over a five year period.  The funds would be available to both general and specialty track dentists.

In addition, Senator Young secured $100,000 to fund a rural demonstration program sponsoring free dental clinics for underserved and rural areas in New York.

In Iowa, changes have been made to the state’s Medicaid dental plan benefits.  Beginning July 1, all enrollees will have access to full dental benefits and have monthly premiums waived for their first year of enrollment upon completion of an oral health assessment and preventative dental exam.  If enrollees do not take these steps, their dental benefits will be more limited.  

Iowa is one of 15 states that offer extensive Medicaid coverage of adult dental benefits.

If you would like more information on legislative matters in your state, or are interested in carrying out advocacy on AGD issues, please contact us at advocacy@agd.org or visit the AGD’s Advocacy webpage.