The Legislature is in its final two weeks of business and is drawing to a close. The Minnesota Constitution states that the legislature must adjourn Sine Die by midnight Monday, May 19. The state Senate is claiming they will be done by the end of this week. Stay tuned…
Conference committees are winding down and final decisions have been made on the issues we care about. As a result of previous legislative actions, the MDA had a number of provisions still in play this session. On Monday, most of the items in play came to a legislative conclusion.
During their conference committee deliberations Monday on the Health Care Reform bill, chairmen Sen. Linda Berglin (DFL-Minneapolis) and Rep. Tom Huntley (DFL-Duluth) concluded the following:
The result of other items the dental community cares about includes: the funding for the Critical Access Dental Provider Program will continue to be funded through general revenues and not the health care access fund. The program will remain in the DHS base funding. Also, some other good news: the $400,000 the MDA got appropriated last year for oral health innovation grants was not reduced and is carried over for use in 2009.
Issues that have yet to be decided at this writing are the foreign-trained dentist provisional license language and extension of the PGY-1 program, which allows licensure of dentists who complete a general dentistry residency program. The foreign-trained dentist language is part of SF3168 and states that a graduate of a non-accredited dental program, who successfully completes the clinical licensure examination and meets all other applicant requirements of the Minnesota State Board of Dentistry, shall be licensed to practice dentistry and granted a “limited general dentist license” by the Board. The Board will be able to place limitations on the licensee’s authority to practice by requiring the licensee to practice under the “general” supervision of a “Minnesota-licensed” dentist and this dentist must be approved by the Board.
The repeal of the sunset of the PGY-1 program is also a result we are waiting on. These items will be part of a human services policy bill that should not be legislatively controversial and will be dealt with later in the week.
Regarding the oral health practitioner (OHP) study language, SF2942, the higher education omnibus bill, the House and Senate conferees met yesterday and concluded their bill. As part of this final action, the committee adopted two additional amendments, which the MDA supported. One requires approval for any educational program by the Board of Dentistry and the other requires the Board of Dentistry member on the work group to be a dentist.