Last Friday marked a pivotal point in the 60-day 2014 Legislative Session. February 7 was the last day legislators could vote policy bills out of their committee of origin. The following is an overview of the bills impacting dentistry and their status in the legislature.
ACTIVE – House Bill 2351
HB 2351 would allow out-of-state health practitioners to apply for temporary licensure to perform uncompensated care in Washington state. The bill received a hearing in the House Health Care & Wellness Committee in which WSDA testified in favor. HB 2351 has passed out of the Health Committee and has been referred to the House Rules Committee for a second reading. If HB 2351 passes the Rules Committee it will go before the full body in the House for a vote.
ACTIVE – Senate Bill 6138
SB 6138 would authorize the Dental Quality Assurance Commission to adopt rules for renewal required for a credential, including continuing education requirements for expanded function dental auxiliary (EFDA) licenses. WSDA supports the bill which passed in the Senate Health Committee unanimously. The bill has been referred to the Senate Rules Committee for a second reading. If SB 6138 passes the Rules Committee it will go before the full body in the Senate for a vote.
ACTIVE – House Bill 2467
HB 2467 would allow both embedded and stand-alone pediatric dental products to be sold inside of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. WSDA supports allowing both embedded and stand-alone pediatric dental benefits to be offered within the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. Last year legislation was passed to allow embedded and stand-alone plans outside of the exchange; WSDA believes the same flexibility should be extended to purchasers using Washington Healthplanfinder. The bill recently passed the House Health Care & Wellness Committee with a 13-2 vote and has been referred to the House Rules Committee for a second reading. If HB 2467 passes the Rules Committee it will go before the full body in the House for a vote.
DEAD – House Bill 2321
HB 2321 was a revised version of the midlevel provider legislation supported by the Children’s Alliance in 2013. The modified bill would have created two new professions: licensed dental practitioners and licensed dental hygiene practitioners. HB 2321 was introduced in the House Health Care & Wellness Committee but was not voted out of committee before the deadline. WSDA testified in opposition of HB 2321 in January. A video of the testimony can be viewed here.
DEAD – House Bill 2338
HB 2338 would have required disciplining authorities to engage in a rule-making process when expanding, modifying, or interpreting the scope of practice of a health care profession. A public hearing was held for the bill in the House Health Care & Wellness Committee, however, it was not voted out of committee.
DEAD – House Bill 2445/Senate Bill 6385
HB 2445/SB 6385 would have created an independent hygiene board with full regulatory powers. Currently, no state in the country has an independent hygiene board with full regulatory and rule making authority. The bill was opposed by WSDA and never received a hearing in either the House or Senate Health Committees.
DEAD – House Bill 2466/Senate Bill 6275
HB 2466 was introduced in the Committee on Community Development and House & Tribal Affairs in the House and companion bill SB 6275 was introduced in the Senate Health Care Committee. The bill would have allowed Indian tribes in Washington to employ DHATs certified by the Alaska CHAP program or a tribe approved equivalent. WSDA testified in opposition to HB 2466 which failed to be voted out of the committee. SB 6275 never received a bill hearing in the Senate Health Care Committee.
On January 31, over 350 dentists and dental students met in Olympia to talk with legislators about these issues. A copy of WSDA's 2014 legislative agenda can be found here, a one pager on the dental safety net for children can be found here, and a one pager on the dental safety net for adults can be found here.
Please direct questions to WSDA's Vice President of Government Affairs, Bracken Killpack, at firstname.lastname@example.org.