The regular session of the 2013 Legislature officially ended on April 28. However, significant work still needs to be done to finalize the 2013-15 biennium operating budget. Governor Inslee has called for a special session to begin on May 13 to complete this budgetary work. A budget update can be found here.
On the policy front, several bills that WSDA supported have been signed by Governor Inslee and will take effect soon. Here's a breakdown on these bills:
HB 1330: HB 1330 was jointly supported by the Washington State Dental Hygienists' Association and WSDA and sponsored by Representative Jim Moeller (D-Vancouver). This legislation will now allow dental assistants and EFDAs to place topical anesthetic under close supervision and dental hygienists to place topical anesthetic under general supervision. Previously, the Department of Health had concluded that topical anesthetic could not be placed by assistants and EFDAs at all and only placed by hygienists under close supervision. HB 1330 will also allow dental hygienists to provide preventive services to homebound patients under the general supervision of a dentists. Currently, hygienists can provide preventive services to seniors in centers but not in individuals homes.
HB 1534: HB 1534 was sponsored by Representative Marcus Riccelli and supported by WSDA. This legislation increases the surcharge placed on dental license renewals from $25 to $50 for the Washington Physicians Health Program (WPHP). WPHP helps dentists, physicians, and other practitioners recover from impairing illnesses such as addictions or other physical or mental conditions. The program is funded by practitioners enrolled in the program, donations, and the license fee surcharges on health practitioners. Dentists will now join Physicians and Phyisicans' Assistants will a $50 annual surcharge. The last dental surcharge increase was over a decade ago.
WSDA is still tracking several bills that have passed both the House and the Senate but have not yet been signed into law by the Governor. Check back for more legislative updates in the coming weeks. For more information on WSDA's legislative agenda please contact Bracken Killpack, WSDA's Director of Government Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-448-3368.