Last night SF 2895 was passed by the Senate Health Finance Committee 5-3. Senator Linda Berglin, committee chair and a staunch advocate of the Advanced Dental Hygiene Practitioner, severely limited our opposition testimony to the point that our concerns were never adequately addressed. The bill now goes on to the Senate Finance Committee, as yet unscheduled.
Once again, the hearing room was filled to overflowing with numerous dental students and dentists. Opposition testimony was given by Dr. Jamie Sledd, MDA President and Dr. Rochelle Avent-Hassan, Director of North Point Health and Wellness Center (a community clinic in northeast Minneapolis).
In very eloquent testimony, Dr. Tony DiAngelis, Dental Director of Hennepin County Medical Center, indicated that even though HCMC is part of the “Safety Net Coalition,” he does not support this bill. Recognizing the severity of the dental access problem, he gave compelling, heart-felt statements about the very negative effect this bill is having on the dental team.
Senator Yvonne Prettner Solon (DFL-Duluth) offered an amendment to delete all of the language in the bill, which would have effectively have killed the bill, and to substitute for the ADHP saying that the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center is requested to prepare a comprehensive plan for creating a new mid-level dental practitioner based in the School of Dentistry. The University of Minnesota was not allowed to speak to the amendment. The amendment failed to pass on a tie vote of 4-4.
The Minnesota Dental Association and our allies continue to vigorously oppose the ADHP bill and work hard to defeat it. The stepped up grassroots efforts on the part of practicing dentists are definitely having a positive impact. But, this looks to be a drawn out, painful fight.
During the hearing last night, the position of the MDA was grossly mischaracterized by the sponsors of the legislation. They claimed that the MDA had agreed to numerous concessions…which we had not. The MDA and ADA will continue to oppose this bill as long as it includes unsupervised surgical procedures.
We ask that you stay active, and continue to contact legislators about your concerns.
Use this link to contact members of the Senate Finance Committee.