Dental Hygiene Therapist…New Law passes in Maine.


LePage Signs Bill For Dental Hygiene Therapists

 

See actual article here



Following announcement of the establishment of a dental hygiene therapist (DHT) in Maine, ADHA received requests for additional information. Below are specific questions and their answers, based on the contents of the bill, Maine LD 1230.

In addition, ADHA has prepared the attached factsheet, based on the contents of the bill, that will be useful to anyone who has additional questions.

The full text of the legislation is available at http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP0870&item=14&snum=126.

Can you fill us in on details?

Below are sections from the Maine Dental Therapy legislation regarding education and setting requirements as well as clarification on the written practice agreements.

What does this mean for the RDHs in Maine? Is there a pathway for them, or is this a totally separate profession from our education and training?

This new member of the oral health team will be a registered dental hygienist who has additional education and experience.


Is this a four-year degree profession with the first two years being dental hygiene?

Qualifications for a Dental Hygienists or Independent Practice Dental Hygienist to Practice as a Dental Hygiene Therapist:

• Licensure. Possesses a valid license to practice dental hygiene or independent practice dental hygiene

• Educational program standards and requirements. Has successfully completed a dental hygiene therapy education program that:

A. Is accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation or a successor organization; B. Is a minimum of 4 semesters; C. Is consistent with the model curriculum for educating dental hygiene therapists adopted by the American Association of Public Health Dentistry, or a successor organization, is consistent with existing dental hygiene therapy programs in other states and is approved by the board; and D. Meets the requirements for dental hygiene therapy education programs adopted by the board;

• Bachelor of Science degree. Has been awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in dental hygiene, which may be completed concurrently or consecutively with a Bachelor of Science degree in dental hygiene;

• Examination. Has passed a comprehensive, competency-based clinical examination; and

• Supervised clinical practice. Has completed 2,000 hours of supervised clinical practice under the supervision of a dentist. An applicant’s hours of supervised clinical experience while enrolled in the 4-semester dental training therapy program may be included.


Are there any limitations on practice sites?

Limitation of Practice

• Upon completion of 2,000 hours of supervised clinical practice a dental hygiene therapist may provide services within their scope of practice and under the direct supervision of a dentist who is licensed in Maine in the following health settings: a hospital, a public school, a nursing facility, a residential care facility, a clinic, a health center reimbursed as a federally qualified health center, a federally qualified health center, a public health setting that serves underserved populations, or a private dental practice in which at least 50% of the patients who are provided services by that dental hygiene therapist are covered by the MaineCare program under Title 22 or are underserved adults.


Will they function under general supervision or according to a collaborative agreement?

Written Practice Agreement/ Standing Orders

• A dental hygiene therapist may practice only under the direct supervision of a dentist who is licensed in Maine and through a written practice agreement signed by both parties. A written practice agreement is a signed document that outlines the functions that the dental hygiene therapist is authorized to perform. A dental hygiene therapist may practice only under the standing order of a dentist, may provide only care that follows written protocols and may provide only services that the dental hygiene therapist is authorized to provide by that dentist.

Ann Lynch
ADHA Division Director, Governmental Affairs
444 N. Michigan Ave
Suite 3400
Chicago, IL 60611
P: 312.440.8942
annl@adha.net
www.adha.org

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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A bill creating a new level of dental hygienists in Maine will become law.

House Speaker Mark Eves’ office said Monday that Gov. Paul LePage signed the Democrat from North Berwick’s bill that establishes a new license for dental hygiene therapists.

They will be able to do procedures like filling cavities and pulling teeth. Dental hygienists can become dental hygiene therapists after schooling, clinical hours and an exam. They’ll have to work under a dentists’ supervision.

Eves says the bill will ensure that kids and seniors get the dental care they need in Maine, which faces a dentist shortage throughout much of the state.

Critics of the bill said the problem is not a lack of access to dental care, but peoples’ inability to show up at appointments.