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DENTAL ACCESS EXPANSION HINGES ON LEVEL OF SUPERVISION

By Katie Lannan
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, SEPT. 12, 2017.....Claiming momentum in a fierce policy battle, lawmakers who favor a legal expansion of the scope of dentistry work so that more patients can be served say they are gaining ground on Beacon Hill.

"I'm very proud that the fact is the dentists are at the table with us, talking about this," Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, who represents many rural communities in Berkshire County, said before a hearing on legislation authorizing a new type of professional, a dental therapist. "This wasn't happening a year ago, but it's happening today. This mid-level practitioner, no pun intended, will fill the gap for so many folks who are in need of health care."

Supporters of the bill (S 1169/H 2474) say 47 percent of children on MassHealth, or 290,000 kids, did not see a dentist in 2014, while scores of low-income individuals, including seniors, are going without care and losing their teeth. The bill is sponsored by Pignatelli, Sen. Harriette Chandler and Rep. Kate Hogan, the House chair of the Public Health Committee.


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