Tennessee lawmakers advance 2 bills to improve dental staffing, insurance

Two Tennessee Senate bills to enhance dental care in the state were advanced by the General Assembly, according to a Feb. 29 report by stateofreform.com.

The first bill, SB 2075, would increase the number of dental hygienists that can be supervised by an individual dentist from three to five. The bill does not apply to private practice, only dentists and hygienists that work for the state Department of Health, a city or county health department, or are part of the state safety net program. 

SB 677 ensures that dentists are paid correctly for their services by eliminating certain practices, including downcoding and bundling. The bill also prohibits carriers from not permitting dentists to accept multiple payment options.

In addition, under SB 677, the Department of Commerce can issue cease and desist letters, suspend licenses or fine insurance companies for violations, including telling dentists what they can and cannot charge for noncovered dental services. 

SB 2075 has been signed by both House and Senate speakers, while SB 677 has passed in the Senate and has been received in the House, the report said.

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