The first two weeks of the legislative session have been very active for WSDA. In the House, WSDA testified on four bills in two different committees this week. Here’s a quick breakdown on the issues:
The Bill WDS Doesn’t Want You to Support
HB 2467 would allow dental plans offered inside of Washington’s Health Insurance Exchange (called Washington Healthplanfinder) to be sold as a stand-alone benefit or embedded in a medical plan. Both WSDA and the ADA support allowing consumers the option to select either an embedded benefit or a stand-alone benefit. WDS is very opposed to this legislation. WSDA joined the Children’s Alliance and several carriers in supporting HB 2467. The testimony of this bill can be found here:
Two New Dental Midlevel Provider Bills Introduced
On Monday, a hearing was held on HB 2321 in the House Health Committee. This legislation would create two new dental midlevel practitioners in Washington state that could perform irreversible procedures. WSDA members Dr. Chris Herzog, Dr. Noah Letwin, and Dr. Tyrone Rodriguez testified against this legislation. The WSDA testimony focused on the fact that midlevel providers will not make dental care more affordable, how dental residencies are a superior alternative, and how dentists in private practice are reimbursed 25 cents on the dollar for adult Medicaid patients.
On Thursday, a hearing was held on HB 2466 in the House Community Development, Housing & Tribal Affairs Committee. This legislation would allow tribes in Washington state to utilize dental therapists without a Washington license on tribal land. WSDA Board member Dr. Chris Delecki, General Counsel Alan Wicks, and Vice President of Government Affairs Bracken Killpack testified in opposition to this bill. WSDA also submitted testimony for WSDA member Dr. Jessica Bremerman in opposition to the bill.
Out-of-State Volunteer Practitioners
Lastly, WSDA Past President Dr. Jeff Parrish testified in support of HB 2351. This bill would allow the DOH to issue temporary credentials to licensed health care providers in other states to provide uncompensated care in Washington state on a temporary basis. According to the ADA, at least 24 states have similar statutory language to allow for temporary credentialing of out-of-state practitioners.
These bills are all still active in the Legislature and it is important that you show up at Dental Action Day and speak for the profession. You can register here.