On Thursday, April 3, the omnibus supplemental appropriations bill, SF3813, which contained the oral health practitioner language, (formerly ADHP) did come up on the Senate floor as we expected; however, the outcome of what took place on this day was something different than we had expected.
During our last update, we urged you to contact your Senator regarding Sen. Solon’s compromise language. This language, as you will recall, had the support of many Senators who could and would not support Sen. Lynch’s OHP language. The response by you to our last E-alert (Friday, April 4, 2008) was great and timely. At the time of this last E-alert there were two opposing amendments – Sen. Lynch’s and Sen. Solon’s, and we were asking you to ask your Senator to vote with Solon when her amendment came to the floor.
On Thursday, April 3, 2008, the Senate caucus took a position that when SF3813 came up on the floor, Sen. Pogemiller, the Senate Majority Leader, would offer an amendment that would delete all the policy language in the existing finance bill. Sen. Pogemiller did offer this amendment and the motion prevailed on a voice vote by all the members of the Senate. This meant the OHP language would be dealt with at another time and would be offered as an amendment to another bill, likely the higher education bill.
Since the OHP language was pulled from the finance bill, Sens. Solon and Lynch pulled together a meeting last Thursday (April 10) of all the oral health stakeholders, plus Sen. Doll, author of the MDA dental access legislation this session. Included at the meeting were the MDA, as well as representatives from the following groups: HCMC, MnSCU, the Dean from the U of M Dental School, the hygiene association, the community clinics, etc. The purpose of the meeting was to see what, if any, compromise between the groups could be determined.
The concepts that were discussed at the Thursday meeting included the following:
MDA Board meeting
The MDA Board of Trustees met Sunday morning to discuss the meeting on Thursday and to review the current status of the OHP language and make a decision about the "Study Compromise.” The MDA BOT position is that we still oppose the ADHP model, but we would agree with a study that all parties would participate in. The workgroup that is highlighted in the current study language would have a majority of dentists. The U of M School of Dentistry also would be involved. The MDA would still have the opportunity to disagree with the results and fight this again in the legislature. The advice from our MDA lobbyists is that they are hearing, even from our supporters, that the legislature wants to pass something this session that deals with a mid-level practitioner. Just saying “no” is no longer a viable option for us.
The unanimous vote by the BOT was to allow the position of supporting a study, making sure that all scope of practice, supervision, and education items would be discussed by the work group. The study compromise would result in legislative recommendations being brought by the work group to the legislature next year. Even if we were to kill this legislation this year, it would be back next year.
This is a process that is still fluid. We will update you again as soon as we know what is happening with the negotiations. And, we will be in touch with you immediately if we need you to contact legislators again.
In the meantime, for more information, please feel free to contact either: Jamie Sledd, MDA President at 763-494-4443, Scott Lingle, MDA Legislative Affairs Chair at 651-227-6646, Dick Diercks, MDA Executive Director at 612-767-8400, or Laura Fenstermaker, MDA Director of Legislative Relations at 612-767-4255.