Massachusetts Senate approves dental hygiene practitioner budget amendment
What's the issue?
On May 25, in a 39-0 roll-call vote, the Massachusetts Senate approved a budget amendment that would create a mid-level provider level of practice. In an attempt to address policy issues within the annual spending bill, Sen. Harriette Chandler filed an amendment that would create a dental hygiene practitioner position within the dental team.
The provision will be discussed further in June during the House-Senate conference committee meeting to finalize the budget. There is no equivalent amendment in the House version of the budget.
Why is this important?
According to ASDA's
, the dentist is the only dental provider that should perform the following functions: examinations, diagnosis, treatment planning and surgical/irreversible procedures.
The unanimous vote in the Massachusetts Senate signals that the Bay State could be the next to operate with mid-level providers. As dental students, it is important to continue to advocate for solutions that address barriers to care without creating a two-tiered system of care.