Bill to include dental therapists in certain programs introduced in the Senate
What's the issue?
Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) introduced
, the Strengthening Our Rural Health Workforce Act of 2016. The bill attempts to address workforce shortages in rural America through the following:
- Comprehensive strategic planning for workforce needs
- Increasing the adoption of rural training track programs
- Supporting primary care workforce
- Supporting emerging professions
- Mental health workforce
Sen. Franken added "dental therapist" language to the bill under the supporting emerging professions section.
Why is this important?
Including the position of dental therapist in federal legislation may indicate growing support for the alternative workforce model. Currently dental therapists are an established member of the dental team in Minnesota, Maine and Vermont.
According to ASDA's C-2 policy, the dentist is the only dental provider that should perform the following functions: examinations, diagnosis, treatment planning and surgical/irreversible procedures.