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Bills into law 2016.


ADHA officers, educators and students from across the country are advancing the dental hygiene profession through legislative and regulatory victories. Coalition building and steadfast advocacy efforts have resulted in the enactment of laws ranging from expanding scope of practice to the successful passage of dental therapy legislation in Vermont.

The Vermont Dental Hygienists' Association (VDHA) along with the Vermont Oral Health Care for All coalition, which is made up of more than 40 advocacy and public health organizations, were the major supporters of bringing the dental therapy model to the state. From 2015 to 2016, the Vermont State Dental Society spent over $200,000 in reportable lobbying expenses trying to stop the dental therapist model and other proposals. (1) Despite the opposition, Senate Bill 20 passed both legislative chambers with overwhelming support, and Governor Peter Shumlin signed Senate Bill 20 into law, allowing dental therapists to provide care to patients in Vermont. Vermont's legislative victory was made possible by the dental hygiene community making calls and meeting with their legislators, as well as their unwavering commitment to patient care.

VDHA worked alongside their coalition partners to amplify their advocacy efforts at the state capital. Vermont Technical College was also helpful, as they are well-positioned to develop a dental hygiene therapy program in the state. This dually licensed dental hygiene-based provider will be required to complete a CODA-approved dental therapy education program. The dental therapist would have both a preventive and restorative scope and practice under the general supervision of a licensed dentist pursuant to a collaborative agreement.

Below are additional highlights of bills enacted into law in 2016.


Senate Bill 580

Became Law 03/31/2016

SB 580 authorizes reimbursement to health access settings for children's dental services provided by licensed dental hygienists.


House Bill 5948

Became Law 07/29/2016

HB 5948 amends the Illinois Dental Practice Act. It changes the requirement of additional course work for public health dental hygienists from 72 to 20 hours. It also makes changes to provisions concerning expanded functions for dental assistants. This bill further improves Illinois' recently passed direct access bill, which allows a public health dental hygienist to treat patients without a dentist first examining the patient and being present in the facility during treatment.


House Bill 470

Became Law 04/12/2016

HB 470 authorizes, subject to specified requirements, dental hygienists to administer nitrous oxide to patients under the supervision of a dentist who is physically present on the premises and who has prescribed the administration of nitrous oxide.


House Bill 680

Became Law 04/12/2016

HB 680 alters the circumstances under which a dental hygienist may administer local anesthesia by infiltration or inferior nerve block.


Senate Bill 579

Became Law 06/08/2016

SB 579 defines "telehealth" or "telemedicine" as the delivery of health care services by means of information and communication technologies that facilitate the assessment, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education, care management and self-management of a patient's health care while such patient is at the originating site and the health care provider is at the distant site. Any licensed health care provider shall be authorized to provide telehealth services if such services are within the scope of practice for which the health care provider is licensed and if such services are provided under the same standard of care as services provided in person.

The bill specifies the licensed individuals who shall be considered eligible health care providers for the provision of telehealth services for MO HealthNet participants. Additionally, this act specifies the originating sites where a MO HealthNet participant may receive telehealth services. Dental hygienists under the supervision of a currently registered and licensed dentist are eligible health care providers.

South Dakota

House Bill 1104

Became Law 03/07/2016

Previously, no dental hygienist in South Dakota could provide services under collaborative supervision for more than 13 months unless a patient received a complete evaluation by a dentist. Under the new law, a dental hygienist may continue providing services after 13 months, as long as the patient receives an "oral health review." An oral health review is defined as a limited assessment of a person's oral health through a dentist's review of dental and medical history following a limited clinical inspection by a dental hygienist working under collaborative supervision.


Senate Bill 1214

Became Law 05/02/2016

SB 1214 authorizes the practice of "teledentistry", which, as used in this section, means the delivery of dental health care and patient consultation through the use of telehealth systems and technologies, including live, two-way interactions between a patient and a dentist licensed in this state using audiovisual telecommunications technology, or the secure transmission of electronic health records and medical data to a dentist licensed in this state to facilitate evaluation and treatment of the patient outside of a real-time or in-person interaction.

Teledentistry shall not alter or amend the supervision requirements or procedures authorized for licensed and registered dental hygienists or registered dental assistants. Any licensed and registered dental hygienist who, under the supervision of a dentist, assists the dentist in providing dental health services or care using teledentistry is authorized to perform only those services that the dental hygienist is authorized to perform during an in-person patient encounter under general supervision. Services provided by registered dental hygienists through teledentistry should be provided under written protocol.


Senate Bill 147

Became Law 03/28/2016

SB 147 makes technical changes clarifying that dental hygienists working with a collaborating dentist are able to perform services remotely in a homebound patient's residence, a school, a nursing home, an assisted living facility, a community health center, a federally qualified health center and a mobile dental health program that employees a dentist. The passage of this bill allows the public to have direct access to dental hygiene services in the state of Utah.


Senate Bill 712

Became Law 03/25/2016

A three-year pilot study of remote supervision of dental hygienists employed by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) began in 2009 and proved to be a highly successful model in prevention and improving access to care. SB 712 expanded the Remote Supervision Public Health Model for the dental hygienist employed outside of VDH.

This bill authorizes dental hygienists to practice, with certain requirements and restrictions, under the remote supervision of a licensed dentist. Remote supervision in this bill means that a dentist is accessible and available for communication and consultation with a dental hygienist employed by such dentist during the delivery of dental hygiene services, but such dentist may not have conducted an initial examination of the patients who are to be seen and treated by the dental hygienist. The dentist need not be present with the dental hygienist when dental hygiene services are being provided.


Senate Bill 20

Became Law 06/02/2016

SB 20 is an act relating to establishing and regulating dental therapists. The dental therapist will provide oral health care services that include prevention, evaluation and assessment; education; palliative therapy; and restoration under the general supervision of a dentist within the parameters of a written collaborative agreement. The collaborative agreement outlines the practice settings and supervision required.

Stateline is prepared by the ADHA Division of Governmental Affairs. The bills enacted into law are a sample of state legislation that has passed during the active legislation session. It is important to stay informed so that you, as an advocate for oral health, can continue to provide the public with the best care possible. To learn more or to help track pending state and federal legislation that may soon impact the dental hygiene profession, please utilize ADHA's members-only website legislative tracking feature.


(1.) Vermont Secretary of State. Vermont lobbying information system. Available at: SearchByEmployer.
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Title Annotation:STATELINE
Date:Nov 1, 2016
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