Wisconsin bill provides more opportunities for dental hygienists to practice independently
What's the issue?
On March 15, State Representative Kathy Bernier introduced AB 146. The bill seeks to expand the number of places dental hygienists are able to practice without authorization or supervision of a dentist. The bill would add hospitals, nursing homes, daycares and detention centers to the list of places hygienists would be able to practice independently. Currently, hygienists are able to administer sealants to students in schools without supervision of a dentist.
Why is this important?
The bill aims to bring hygienists to places that desperately need dental care. In 2015, more than 2,000 people went to the Dane County Emergency Room for dental pain rather than visiting a doctor. This resulted in more than $2.5 million in charges.
This bill is supported by a number of health care organizations including the Wisconsin Dental Association, the Wisconsin Hospital Association and the Wisconsin Public Health Association.