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Monday
Jul292013

« WSDA Advocacy Efforts Will Save Washington Dentists Over $1 Million a Year in Licensing Renewal Fees »

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has proposed lowering dental license renewal fees by $176. The current license renewal fee of $576 is the second highest dental license renewal fee in the nation. Initial dental license fees are also expected to drop $200. The current initial dental license fee is $700.

WSDA has been advocating for lower dental licensure renewal fees for the past year. Last August, WSDA Past President, Dr. Rod Wentworth submitted a letter to the Secretary of Health expressing his concern over the high dental license renewal fees in Washington state and requested DOH take immediate action to address the issue. Dr. Wentworth's letter can be viewed here. WSDA continued to advocate for a license renewal fee reduction during Dental Quality Assurance Commission (DQAC) public meetings and in discussions with DOH staff. WSDA advocacy efforts will save Washington dentists over $1 million a year in dental license renewal fees.

DOH is required by law to ensure dental license fees cover the cost of regulating the profession. The last fee increase was implemented in 2010 to address DQAC's nearly $2 million deficit. By the end of 2012, DQAC had a budget surplus of $2.3 million.

DOH has performed DQAC budget projections for the next several years and determined that maintaining the existing licensure renewal rate will result in significantly higher revenues than DQAC’s expected costs. As a result, DOH has proposed a reduction in dental license renewal fees. DOH believes this renewal fee rate should provide sufficient revenue for DQAC over the next several bienniums.

The $176 dental license fee decrease incorporates the surcharge increase on dental licenses for the Washington Physicians Health Program (WPHP). House Bill 1534 was signed into law in May and raised the existing surcharge on dental licensure fees for WPHP from $25 to $50. The program helps dentists, physicians and other health care practitioners recover from impairing illnesses such as addiction and other physical and mental conditions. WPHP is funded by practitioners enrolled in the program, donations, and license fee surcharges on health care practitioners. The surcharge on physicians and physician’s assistants licenses has been $50 for the past four years.

The formal rule-making process on dental licensure fees is expected to begin in the next few weeks. Actual dental license fee reductions are expected to take effect sometime this fall.

Please visit the DOH website for license renewal information and to renew your license online.

If you have any questions regarding dental license or fee reductions, contact WSDA Vice President of Government Affairs, Bracken Killpack at 800-448-3368 or by email at bracken@wsda.org.

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