Columbus, OH (PRWEB) June 05, 2014
House Bill 463, which was introduced by Ohio Rep. Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) and passed the House 95-0, would expand access to dental care in a comprehensive, safe, high-quality way and maximize the current dental care infrastructure and delivery system.
The Ohio Dental Association strongly supports House Bill 463, which is in conjunction with the ODA’s campaign “Every Mouth Matters: Comprehensive Solutions for Quality Dental Care in Ohio.”
“We are very happy to see that House Bill 463 has passed the House, and look forward to working with the Senate for fast approval to improve access to oral health care in Ohio,” said David Owsiany, executive director of the Ohio Dental Association.
The bill proposes several ways to improve access to care, including:
- Doubling the capacity of the Ohio Dentist Student Loan Repayment program, which provides loan repayment assistance for new dental graduates who practice in a designated shortage area and treat patients regardless of their ability to pay. Currently, the program is fully funded by a $20 fee on dentists’ licensure renewal fees. The proposal would double this fee.
- Expanding the role of current dental team members, including hygienists and Expanded Function Dental Auxiliaries (EFDAs), to help meet the needs of underserved populations.
- Providing an incentive for participation in dental residency programs, which are an important part of the dental safety net that provides care to underserved populations.
- Creating a study committee on Medicaid reimbursement rates for dental services to analyze the current program and make recommendations on proper reimbursement levels and policies.
- Providing no-interest loans for dental equipment to be used in state-defined underserved areas.
- Allowing four dental hygienists to work under the supervision of one dentist to enhance patient capacity.
- Reforming the “Choose Ohio First” scholarship program to permit scholarship awards for qualified applicants to dental schools in Ohio.
- Establishing a temporary professional license for volunteer dental providers who are properly licensed in another jurisdiction.
“While there is no single magic bullet, the provisions of House Bill 463 represent a multi-pronged approach to removing barriers to care while also creating incentives and providing resources to expand outreach in underserved communities,” said ODA President Dr. Paul Casamassimo. “This bill offers hope and solutions now rather than years from now.”
Owsiany thanked Johnson for his “tireless efforts to secure passage of Substitute House Bill 463 in the Ohio House.”
The ODA serves more than 5,000 member dentists, nearly 75 percent of the state’s licensed dentists, through programs, services and member benefits. In addition, the ODA reaches out to consumers, educators, health professionals and others through education, advocacy and public service programs.