Chicago, IL (09/13/2018) — On Friday, September 7, 2018, the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) hosted a conference in Chicago to explore legislative initiatives on the dental workforce as well as alternative solutions to improve access and utilization of care.
At least twenty states have proposed bills to introduce midlevel providers, including dental therapists and dental health aide therapists. States that have passed dental therapist legislation are Arizona, Maine, Minnesota and Vermont. The states of Alaska, Arkansas, Oregon and Washington have all authorized dental health aide therapists to practice on tribal lands.
It is the position of the AGD that legislation should direct resources toward improving oral health literacy, establishing student loan forgiveness programs and other proven and viable initiatives to improve both access to care and utilization of care, rather than to creating non-dentist providers to practice dentistry without a dental license or the supervision of a dentist.
“While proponents might argue that opposition to midlevel provider legislation is a turf battle, this is not the case. From supporting community water fluoridation to a focus on preventive care, dentists have long stood for improving patient health regardless of the effect on our pocketbooks, and this is no different,” stated conference moderator, Mike Bromberg, DDS, AGD Congressional Liaison. “Quality oral health is essential to a person’s overall health and we know a dentist is critical to delivering the level of care everyone deserves.”
Forty-five AGD members and leaders from across the country convened for the conference. The full-day conference consisted of a panel, breakout group sessions, role-playing and discussions on best practices. The panel, which included AGD leaders representing states targeted by dental therapy legislation, stressed the importance of becoming more engaged in the conversation with state legislators and community leaders and offering positive solutions to the issue.
From the panel discussions to the role-playing, the attendees were pleased to have had the opportunity to share diverse points of view and strategies to address midlevel provider legislation, and more broadly, to engage legislators to improve access and utilization of care.
About the Academy of General Dentistry
The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) is a professional association of more than 40,000 general dentists dedicated to providing quality dental care and oral health education to the public. Founded in 1952, AGD is the largest association for general dentists in the world and serves the needs and represents the interests of general dentists. For more information about AGD, visit, www.agd.org
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