One of our very own, Kyle Tuttle ’18, provided personal testimony on Wednesday evening at the end of an extremely long session of Senate committee hearings. One day after multiple ASDOH students participated in Oral Health Day at the Capitol, the Health and Human Services Committee passed SB 1362 with a 7-0 vote. The bill will now be moved to the Senate floor for a vote. If it passes, it will move to the House health committee for hearings and, pending approval, subsequent House floor following the same process. At that point, the changes to the Dental Practice Act within SB 1362 will be signed into law by the Arizona governor–that is, unless it is vetoed.
This bill has a profound effect on the dental profession in the state and addresses issues including a surplus in the Dental Board Fund, license portability issues and updates to definitions of teledentistry. Read more below from the Arizona Dental Association about SB 1362:
Dental Board Fund is currently at $5 million — more than 4 times the annual operating expenses of the Board! SB 1362 will repeal antiquated language that will allow the Board to more aggressively lower fees and will provide a mechanism for the Board to reduce the balance of the Fund by granting a renewal fee waiver for all existing licensees for the next three years (2018, 2019 and 2020).
SB 1362 addresses license portability for new graduates. US News and World Report says that dentistry is the “number one” profession, but it is also the profession that carries the largest amount of education debt. New dentists should not be forced to pay unreasonable fees based on which clinical examination they took. SB 1362 requires the Board to accept clinical licensing examinations administered by any other regional testing agency in the U.S. and removes the requirement for those new graduates to pay a $2,000 credentialing fee.
SB 1362 makes other updates to definitions of teledentistry and affiliated practice dental hygiene to provide more flexibility to utilize enhanced dental teams to address underserved areas. It also removes a barrier for expanded function dental assistants from other states to be credentialed here.
Andy Larkin, ASDOH ’19