Idaho dentists urge governor to veto bill limiting teledentistry

Two Idaho dentists urged Gov. Brad Little to veto legislation that would limit teledentistry practices, calling the timing of the billing "downright offensive" in an opinion piece published by the Idaho Statesman.

The Idaho Legislature passed Senate Bill 1295, legislation "with the sole purpose of making it difficult and expensive for patients to utilize teledentistry," Ben Bowen, DDS, and Kenneth Wolf, DDS, claim. The two dentists argue that Idaho State Dental Association lobbyists pushed for the bill, which would require providers using teledentistry to have a business relationship with a dentist from the same area as the patient seeking care.

Telemedicine is a critical component of care for patients who are isolated or otherwise unable to receive care, the dentists said. Teledentistry can help people living below the poverty line because it is cheaper and provides patients with flexible solutions, Dr. Bowen and Dr. Wolf write.

The goal of the bill, the dentists allege, is to "discourage the use of telemedicine for dental care, forcing people to spend their money with brick-and-mortar dentists. It's about money, not patient safety."

The legislation, "is not what Idaho needs at a time when we must be utilizing more telemedicine options for our citizens," Dr. Bowen and Dr. Wolf conclude.

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