Last week, the Legislature introduced House Bill 1534 and House Bill 1603, both relating to dental licensure.
HB 1534 would increase the surcharge for the Washington Physicians Health Program (WPHP) from $25 to $50. WPHP helps dentists, physicians and other health care practitioners recover from impairing illnesses such as addiction or other physical and mental conditions. WPHP is a non-profit organization and is not affiliated with the Department of Health. The program is funded by practitioners enrolled in the program, donations and the license fee surcharges on health care practitioners. The surcharge on dental licenses has been $25 for over ten years while the surcharge for physicians and physician’s assistants has been $50 for the last four years. WSDA supports the surcharge increase and will continue to monitor the progress of HB 1534 during the 2013 Legislative Session.
HB 1603 would establish a 30-day grace period for expired dental licenses and require all health carriers to reimburse dentists with expired licenses for services performed within 30 days of their license expiration date. While the license would remain active for an additional 30 days under HB 1603, all applicable late fees would still be imposed. WSDA has been seeking passage of license grace period legislation for the past few years and will be actively supporting HB 1603 this session.
HB 1534 has been referred to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health & Human Services and HB 1603 has been referred to the House Health Committee.
More information on HB 1534 and HB 1603 can found on the Washington State Legislative website, www.leg.wa.gov.