12 legislative moves impacting dentistry: A state-by-state breakdown

Several states have approved or are reviewing legislation to change how dentistry is performed, including expanding scopes of practice, increasing reimbursements and improving access to care.

Here are 12 recent state legislative actions affecting dentistry:

Alaska

  • The Alaska House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow dental hygienists to apply for permits to work independently.

Arizona

  • Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law a bill that allows dentists to administer Botox and fillers cosmetically.

Florida

  • Florida is considering adding a program into its budget that would pay 10 dental school graduates $50,000 a year on top of their salary to work in a low-income or rural community.
  • The Florida House proposed changes to the state's managed care program, including rolling the state's dental services into the rest of the programs instead of being a separate program.

Kentucky

  • Sen. Ralph Alvarado introduced a bill that would establish a minimum Medicaid reimbursement of at least the cost of the service.

Maryland

  • Legislators are considering a proposal that would add basic dental coverage for Medicaid recipients in the state, including teeth cleanings and fillings.

Massachusetts

  • Lawmakers are considering a proposal to impose spending barriers on private dental insurers. It would require insurers to spend at least 83 percent of revenues on dental expenses and quality improvements instead of administrative costs.

Michigan

  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proposed $243 million be added to her annual budget to expand dental coverage to adult Medicaid recipients and increase reimbursements for dentists participating in the program.

Oklahoma

  • A bill introduced under Oklahoma's House of Representatives would redefine covered services and prevent insurers from deciding the cost of uncovered procedures, instead authorizing those costs to be decided between patients and dentists. It would also require insurers to explain the reasoning for downcoding and bundling of procedures. 

South Dakota

  • The South Dakota Legislature approved a bill to increase Medicaid reimbursements for dentists to encourage more participation in the program.

Tennessee

  • Tennessee legislators are reviewing a proposal to offer Medicaid dental coverage to all adult enrollees and pay dentists more to see Medicaid patients.

Wisconsin

  • The Wisconsin legislature passed a bill authorizing the practice of dental auxiliaries in the state.

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