AB 502 to be heard April 28 in Assembly Health Committee: Send letters of support now

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The California Dental Hygienists' Association is asking for your help in reaching out to your legislators to express your support of AB 502.

www.cdha.org

The RDHAP provides patients the same type of professional preventive care they would receive in a dental office but allows patients to receive this care conveniently in their own homes.

Registered Dental Hygienists in Alternative Practice (RDHAPs) are licensed dental hygiene professionals who specialize in treating patients with special needs, including patients with mental or physical disabilities whose health conditions limit their abilities to access quality preventive and periodontal oral hygiene care. They purposely reach out to populations who have difficulty accessing care within a traditional dental office. “The RDHAP provides patients the same type of professional preventive care they would receive in a dental office but allows patients to receive this care conveniently in their own homes,” states California Dental Hygienists’ Association (CDHA) President and RDHAP, Karine Strickland.

RDHAPs provide their services for residents of skilled nursing facilities, disabled individuals, homebound elderly, pregnant women, and children in school settings. For those loved ones and family members living in a long-term care facility or homebound due to age or illness, oral health care contributes to overall health and well-being. Be sure to include an RDHAP within your provider team, when you are considering services and care. (To find an RDHAP in your area, go to CDHA.org/RDHAP directory or email info@cdha.org.)

RDHAPs also provide care to those living in Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas (DHPSAs). DHPSAs are large population areas, with few dentists and therefore little to no access to dental care in the surrounding area. RDHAPs help fill the need for an oral hygiene dental provider in these areas. With their own offices or mobile units, they bring care to those who may not otherwise receive any type of dental care. “The dental needs of California are great, and California hygienists are answering the call for care,” states Strickland.

Current law, as written, identifies the designated Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas (DHPSA), but this designation can change once RDHAP care begins in these areas. AB 502 allows RDHAPs to continue serving patients in these DHPSAs regardless of future designation changes. AB 502 is authored by Assemblyman Chau and sponsored by CDHA. Hygienists are requesting that legislators support AB 502, which will assure that RDHAPs continue to serve their patients, providing safe and effective preventive and periodontal care services for those patients unable to obtain care in a traditional dental office setting.

AB 502 was heard in the Assembly Business and Professions Committee on Tuesday April 14, 2015, and passed out of the Committee on a 10-4 vote.

Susan Bonilla (Chair) – Aye
Brian W. Jones (Vice Chair) – Aye
Catharine B. Baker – No    
Richard Bloom – Aye
Nora Campos – Aye            
Ling Ling Chang – No                                                            
Bill Dodd – Aye                        
Susan Talamantes Eggman – Aye
Mike Gatto – No
Chris R. Holden – Aye
Kevin Mullin – Aye
Philip Y. Ting – Aye                        
Scott Wilk – No
Jim Wood DDS – Aye

AB 502 will next be heard by the Assembly Health Committee on April 28. AB 502 will support Registered Dental Hygienists in Alternative Practice and allow them to continue to provide access to care. CDHA encourages the general public to contact their local legislators and urge the passage of AB 502. Please send your letters of support to the Assembly Health Committee no later than April 24 to the Committee chair. Contact information can be found at assembly.ca.gov.

The CDHA recommends visiting its website for more information: http://www.cdha.org. The California Dental Hygienists’ Association (CDHA) is the authoritative voice of the state’s dental hygiene profession. The organization was established more than 25 years ago when two regional associations merged to form a unified professional group. CDHA represents thousands of dental hygienists.

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