Did you receive an email from the Bridge to Healthy Smiles campaign today? It reminded local voters that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and the State Legislature are conducting a review of all Medicaid services to find $2.7 billion in budget cuts. Adult dental services are on the chopping block for possible elimination due to their classification as “optional services” under federal reimbursement guidelines.
The Bridge to Healthy Smiles campaign urged voters to help the governor and their elected officials understand that elimination of the adult services is not the answer; it will instead shift the burden to emergency rooms that can not treat the underlying dental condition.
You can read the full message from the Bridge to Health Smiles campaign here.
If you agree and want to help, the Bridge to Healthy Smiles campaign encourages you to call Gov. Quinn and your legislators and explain why they must not cut the adult dental funding and what the impact will be on the underserved population.
Governor Quinn’s office can be reached at 217.782.0244 during business hours.
The Illinois State Dental Society has provided on its website links to help you identify your elected representative, and an outline of talking points for when you call that person’s legislative office:
- The adult dental program is a state-optional program and only accounts for about 20 percent ($51 million) of the entire dental appropriation in the FY-12 budget, which is projected to be $300 million. Since the federal government pays half of the Medicaid costs, the State of Illinois’ savings would only be $25.5 million.
- If the adult dental program is eliminated, much or all of the savings in the dental appropriation would be offset due to increased State spending for those patients who present to hospital emergency rooms seeking pain relief.
- In most cases, emergency rooms are only able to provide pain medication and antibiotics, which temporarily address the clinical concerns.
- The Pew Center issued a report on February 28, 2012, that documented a 15.8 percent increase in emergency room visits from 2006-2009 in states that reduced or eliminated adult dental care programs.
access to care
state of illinois
CDS member Cheryl Watson-Lowry joined Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle today to announce a $1 million earmark in the 2012 Cook County Health and Hospital System budget for outpatient dental care.
“These public health initiatives will be critical to treating our underserved residents at a time when families throughout Cook County are facing difficult economic circumstances,” President Preckwinkle said. “Because we made tough choices in our budget, we can invest in public health to ensure … our children can have access to the dental services they need and deserve.”
President Preckwinkle also announced today an additional $1 million allocation for the Access to Care organization, which facilitates primary care for residents of suburban Cook Country at reduced rates. Private physicians care for qualified patients in their private offices. This brings the County’s total funding for the Access to Care organization to $3 million this year.
Ramanathan Raju, MD, CEO of the Cook Country Hospital System, called it “a great day for the health of Cook County residents.”
“In times of financial crisis, it takes courageous leadership and farsighted thinking to protect the health of our residents. As more people enroll (in public health systems), we need to think of innovative ways of partnering with the community and organizations to provide care,” Dr. Raju said.
Funding to restore dental care to the Cook County healthcare system has been a year-long battle for the Chicago Dental Society’s Government Affairs Committee. Members have met repeatedly with President Preckwinkle and various commissioners to explain that the federal government has designated large areas of Cook County as dental health professional shortage areas, and to educate commissioners about the importance of oral healthcare as part of whole body wellness.
Dr. Watson-Lowry, who chairs the Government Affairs Committee, was reinvigorated by today’s announcement.
“I am so excited that we are making progress, and that the underserved residents of Chicago and Cook County will receive the dental care that they deserve,” she said. “This will change lives. People who have not been able to find jobs because they are afraid to smile or to talk in public will be able to have their mouths restored so that they can eat and speak properly and seek employment.”
Also on hand for the announcement were commissioners John Daley (D-11th), also the Finance Committee chairman; Tim Schneider (R-15th); Peter Silvestri (R-9th); and Jeffrey Tobolski (D-16th).
“The world would be a better place if we smile at each other a little more. You can thank a dentist for that,” Mr. Silvestri said.
“Sure enough,” President Preckwinkle replied. “I’m grateful for the bipartisan support for these additional funds for both Access to Care and the dental program.”Pictured above (L-R): CDS executive director Randy Grove, Commissioner Jeffrey Tobolski (D-16th), CDS Government Affairs Committee chair Cheryl Watson-Lowry and Commissioner John Daley (D-11th).
access to care
Illinois dentists, ISDS is calling on you to contact
Gov. Quinn about HB 2239, which repeals the 50% Illinois income tax
increase for partnerships, LLCs, and LLPs. Visit the
ISDS Capwiz page to send your message to the
state of illinois
Several members have contacted CDS recently about the
proliferation of tooth whitening kiosks at malls, spas and even the
airport. We just wanted to pass along that Senate Bill 290, now
awaiting the governor's signature, amends the dental practice act
"Provides that a person practices
dentistry, within the meaning of the Act, who takes impressions of
human teeth or places his or her hands in the mouth of any person
for the purpose of (i) applying teeth whitening materials or (ii)
assisting in the application of teeth whitening materials. Provides
that a person does not practice dentistry when he or she (i)
discusses the use of teeth whitening materials with a consumer
purchasing these materials, (ii) provides instruction on the use of
teeth whitening materials with a consumer purchasing these
materials, or (iii) provides appropriate equipment on-site to the
consumer for the consumer to self-apply teeth whitening
You can also track the
status of this bill
at the Illinois General Assembly's
Unfortunately, these individuals do no properly represent dental professionals. The quality of the treatment and safety of the patient is in question.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.bcdentalcare.ca" rel="nofollow">Dental Thornhill</a>
Posted by: Dr. David Cheng (firstname.lastname@example.org) on 05/16/2011
These places will find a way around this bill. They already don't place their hands in the patient's mouth, but rather instruct the patient in how to do it. The real problem is that the poor patient thinks these people are real dental professionals. <br /><br />Who is going to police this act if it is passed? There are tanning salons and other places that are doing this that will be a lot harder to police than an open place like a mall.
Posted by: Anonymous (email@example.com) on 05/16/2011
The American Dental Association passed the following information
along to state and component societies about the newly signed
legislation in Minnesota creating a dental therapist.
After completing a bachelor's degree program, the dental therapist
will be able to practice in underserved location and and perform
procedures, including restorations and primary extractions with the
indirect supervision of a dentist.
Below are answers to some of the commonly asked questions as
provided by the ADA's State Government Affairs Department.
The Minnesota Dental Association has also created a
catalog of links to news coverage on this legislation.
Q: How did this happen?
A: Two years ago proponents of the American Dental Hygiene
Associations' Advanced Dental Hygiene Practitioner (ADHP)
introduced legislation to create that position in Minnesota. As
designed, the model provides for the ADHP to perform surgery
without a dentist being on-site and with virtually no
The legislation gained momentum in the Senate, but an aggressive
media and lobbying effort by the Minnesota Dental Association (MDA)
stalled it in the House. The MDA strove to educate lawmakers about
the shortcomings of the ADHP model. MDA built a coalition of oral
healthcare providers to oppose the legislation and mobilized dental
students and others to testify in hearings as well as attend
lawmakers' local meetings to speak out on the ADHP issue.
A number of former hygienists who now are dental students were
particularly effective in speaking to the dramatic differences
between dental and dental hygiene education and training. To help
shape communications efforts around these issues, the ADA conducted
extensive qualitative and quantitative opinion research.
MDA offered a variety of more realistic proposals to improve access
to care, including the Community Dental Health Coordinator (CDHC)
as a more integrated member of the dental team and an alternative
to the ADHP. Ultimately, the MDA and its allies created enough
controversy to scale back the legislation dramatically to the
creation of a task force charged with making recommendations about
an Oral Health Practitioner (OHP) for the legislature to consider
in 2009. However, even this legislation was a turning point-the
question was no longer whether to create midlevel providers, but
rather how to do so.
The task force included representatives from the MDA, the
University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, the Minnesota State
Colleges and Universities, the Minnesota Dental Hygienists
Association, the Minnesota Board of Dental Examiners and the Safety
Net Coalition (SNC).
Unfortunately, the task force was unable to reach consensus. With
the political and legal wind assuring the creation of a mid-level
provider, the MDA put its efforts into ensuring patient safety and
keeping the dentist as the head of the dental team. The state
society made the difficult decision to endorse the alternative
model proposed by the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry.
The dental school's plan provided for an integrated member of the
dental team, educated in an accredited dental school, working with
the supervision of a dentist. Any procedure permitted in the
therapist's scope would be taught to the same standard as a
The OHP Task Force narrowly approved recommendations that closely
mirrored the ADHP design, and sent its report to the legislature.
The MDA, the dental school and others offered alternative reports
and findings that staked out the principles of one standard of
education, patient safety and an integrated dental team as opposed
to the fractured model offered by ADHP or OHP.
With the start of the 2009 legislative session both the OHP and
dental therapist models garnered legislative support. Looking to
avoid conflict, legislators put both provisions into the same bills
and appeared poised to pass them both. With that prospect, MDA
undertook a print, radio and web ad campaign with support from the
ADA State Public Affairs program to raise public and policymaker
awareness about the lack of supervision and varying standards of
education that led to patient safety concerns in the OHP model. In
the wake of that campaign, the Senate considered an MDA-supported
amendment to remove the OHP scope, supervision and education
requirements and replace them with those of the dental therapist.
While that amendment failed by a single vote, it was a far closer
outcome than anyone had predicted and provided real momentum
heading into the House of Representatives.
In the end, the House the Speaker decided to direct a negotiated
settlement. Ultimately the result of that process very closely
tracked the School of Dentistry model and the MDA principles.
Q: What exactly will the dental
therapist do, and under what level of supervision?
A: The basic dental therapist will qualify for licensure upon
graduation from a Bachelor's degree dental therapy program. The
University of Minnesota School of Dentistry has stated that it will
offer the program as of September 2009, but other institutions may
develop them as well. A concern is that the Minnesota State
Colleges and Universities system (MnSCU) which had originally
agreed to host the ADHP program is exploring advanced placement for
dental hygienists with a Bachelor's degree in their version of the
dental therapy program (Bachelor's level). The extent, to which the
Dental Board will authorize that process without placing the
program at risk of not being approved by the Board, remains to be
The Dental Board will grant a therapist license to a candidate who
has successfully completed the program and passed a clinical exam,
The therapist will work in a dental office with the indirect
(on-site) supervision of a dentist, and will be able to provide a
range of dental services for the underserved including restorations
and extraction of primary teeth.
The supervising dentist must authorize any surgical procedures
before treatment may commence. Further, the supervising doctor will
be on site to deal with any complications or emergencies.
After practicing as a dental therapist for at least 2000 hours, a
candidate may choose to pursue a two-year Master's degree in
advanced dental therapy. Upon successfully completing that program
and passing a clinical exam, an advanced therapist could practice
in a separate site from the supervising dentist. However, any
surgical procedure would still have to be specifically approved and
authorized by the dentist prior to treatment. The advanced
therapist also could extract permanent teeth with a mobility factor
of +3 to +4, but only with preauthorization from the supervising
dentist. By retaining a level of supervision by the dentist, the
MDA has to the extent possible kept the dental team intact, with
the dentist as the comprehensive leader of that team.
The law requires the dental board to report to the legislature in
2014 about the safety of dental therapists, the cost-effectiveness
of the program and its impact on access to dental care.
Q: What about dental
A: The dental therapist program excludes much of the dental hygiene
scope of practice. Dental therapists will not perform prophys. The
skill set required for a dental therapist is different than that of
a dental hygienist.
Claims that the dental therapist law is a breakthrough for
proponents of the ADHP model are overstated, to say the least. To
become a basic dental therapist one must complete a dental therapy
Bachelor's degree. Whether one holds a degree or license in another
allied dental profession does not matter. Without the dental
therapy degree, one cannot be licensed and cannot practice as a
dental therapist. The requirements for admission to the Master's
level program are completion of the Bachelor's level therapist
program and at least 2,000 hours of practice as a therapist. While
someone holding a different type of allied dental professional
degree will be free to apply and enroll in either dental therapy
program, they will have to complete the appropriate dental therapy
degree to practice as a therapist.
Q: How will dental therapists be
limited to caring for the underserved?
A: The law sets strict guidelines for the patient base therapists
can serve and the areas in which they can practice,
- Critical access dental clinics (which are operated by dentists
who receive enhanced reimbursement from Medicaid because they treat
a high volume of Medicaid patients);
- The usual assisted living facilities, FQHCs, etc.;
- A collaborative hygiene setting (although this would only apply
to an advanced therapist, because a basic therapist could not
perform surgical procedures with no supervising dentist on the
- Military and VA facilities;
- Dental or dental therapy schools; and
- Any other setting where at least 50 percent of the therapist's
patients are among the following groups:
- Enrollees of a state publicly funded health care program,
- Having no private or public dental coverage and are at 200
percent FPL or below; or
- The patients or practice is in a designated DHPSA.
access to care
need more hygienists.<br />Not more administrative dower without requirements of a nurse Dr or hygienist.<br /><br />sincerely<br />Dr. BDC<br />http://www.emergencydentistdownersgrove.com/
Posted by: Brian (firstname.lastname@example.org) on 05/16/2011