“MHA strongly supports the establishment of an Advance Dental Hygiene Practitioners (ADHP) level of practice as described in HB2474/SB1169. MassHealth enrollees and those in other publicly subsidized programs in Massachusetts currently have inadequate access to dental care services – there are some 244,000 residents in 62 federally designated dentist shortage areas across the commonwealth, and the issue is particularly acute for children.
According to the Pew Center on the States, 47% of children in the MassHealth program did not see a dentist in 2014. Many of these individuals will ultimately enter the healthcare system for treatment of ailments that could have been avoided with basic preventive dental care and services.
The legislation before the Joint Committee on Public Health today would permit ADHPs, once they have successfully completed additional training, to deliver basic dental care to these under-served populations. ADHPs would practice under the general supervision of a dentist and take advantage of telehealth technology to share patient records with dentists and consult with them on complicated cases.
MHA believes passage of HB2474/SB1169 is a necessary and appropriate step that will increase access to needed dental services for all residents of the commonwealth.”