SB 1362 is a current legislative bill addressing the excess dental board fund, expanded function hygienists, license portability issues and other concerns. The Bill came out of the House of Representatives Health Committee on Thursday with a “do pass” recommendation. There was a 7-0 unanimous decision from the Committee, with Representative Regina Cobb and Representative Kelli Butler voting as “present”, citing conflict of interest due to Cobb being a practicing dentist in Arizona, while Butler’s husband is a Western Regional Examining Board (WREB) examiner.
Andy Larkin, D2, testified on behalf of the bill and students in the state of Arizona. The next step for SB 1362 will be the House floor (Committee of Whole, COW), where it will be voted on by the entire House of Representatives. This is the same process that the Bill completed last month in the Arizona Senate, resulting in a unanimous passing (30-0 vote). If SB 1362 passes the House Committee of Whole, it will go to the governor’s desk to be signed into law. The Bill is expected to pass as no amendments have been proposed, and the COW vote could be as early as next week
Read more about SB 1362 below:
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.