LD 1085 "An Act To Amend the Requirements for Licensure as an
Independent Practice Dental Hygienist" in Maine
Determined and highly frustrated, she then contacted her state legislator from her hometown of Kittery, Representative Deane Rykerson, in November of 2016 to sketch out a proposal to reduce regulations from 5000 hours to 2000 hours with no time restriction. Strategically chosen co-signers of the bill were from both sides of the aisle and were once hygienists! (Reps Heather Sirocki and
Kuehl made sure to keep her MDHA Leadership colleagues in-the-loop and worked closely with Governmental Affairs Chair Lorraine Klug, President Kellie Stanhope and Lobbyist Bonnie Vaughn.
In April 2017, LD 1085 was heard by the LCRED Committee where the chairwoman remarked that to her knowledge, this was the first hygiene bill which had the support of the Maine Dental Society, the Maine Board of Dental Practitioners and the Maine Dental Hygienists' Association. Thanks to strategic fact sheets using common sense marketing language, several legislators observed that hygienists are 98% women and probably 90% work part-time, which positioned this bill as a solution to access to care while removing gender discrimination for working moms under the original legislation.
It was all smooth sailing until, without warning Maine's controversial Governor vetoed the bill in early June. With the full support of Representative Rykerson, Kuehl quickly sent out a plea to all legislators to vote to override the Governor. Kuehl's updated fact sheet touted collaboration between all dental organizations, excerpts from prior submitted testimony and of course the need for improved oral health for Maine citizens:
"I think this is essentially a glitch in our requirements for the License. We can all agree that dental health is beneficial to our state and that there are certainly areas that are in need of hygienists!" Maine State Legislature
"LD 1085 would remove the time frame when the clinical practice experience must be earned, and would create a third pathway for hygienists who could verify 2000 hours of clinical experience." Maine Board of Dental Practice
"lPDHs function in many roles and have been invaluable working in
federally qualified health centers by providing services and when dental practices are unable to sell in rural areas, IPDHs have stepped in to continue the practice until it is sold." Maine Dental Hygienists' Association
"LD 1085 provides a pathway to lPDH authority for dental hygienists who have
broadened their education and training in alternative settings, while continuing to ensure appropriate clinical practice experience." Maine Dental Association
The legislature was successful in over-riding the Governor's misinformed veto by 145 in favor - 1 against in the House and by unanimous decision in the Senate. Adding to the excitement of that decisive vote, MDHA was in attendance with students from UNE and Bangor for Lobby Day! (Lobbyist Bonnie Vaughn, Representative Rykerson, President Kellie Stanhope and Students)
is another rung in the dental hygiene career ladder for all clinicians. Interested in expanding access thru independent practice using tele-health and portable technologies? Join your ADHA tribe! "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Susanne Kuehl RDH, BS, IPDH is the president of Hygiene Health™, an Independent Dental Hygiene practice, offering comprehensive,
patient-centered dental hygiene services in a comfortable pressure-free atmosphere. You can contact her at