Please find attached a release describing how Organized Dentistry (Board of Dental Examiners and the Alabama Dental Association) is denying “access to care” yet again to the citizens of Alabama.
Burt F. Arthur
Director of Finance
Northcutt Dental Practice
23678 US Hwy 98
Fairhope, AL 36532
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT
AUGUST 22, 2016 J. David Northcutt, DMD
Organized Dentistry Again Impedes “Access To Care” for the Underprivileged
“Access to Care” is a phrase that means helping the underprivileged gain access to medical and dental care. This is an especially hot topic considering the current funding shortage of the Medicaid budget in Alabama. Governor Bentley called a Special Session on August 15, to deal with this very issue. The problems for the State are simply the “access to care” costs, primarily Medicaid’s cost, outweigh the funds that the State currently has available. While finding new sources of revenue for the State will certainly help prop up Medicaid, we must ask if there are other ways to provide “access to care” in a more cost effective way.
Physicians of Alabama have allowed nurse practitioners to practice in the State which has greatly improved “access to medical care.” In 2013, the Dentists of the State, through the Board of Dental Examiners of Alabama, attempted to improve “access to dental care” by sponsoring a bill in the Alabama Legislature that would allow for Expanded Duty Assistants (EDA’s) to practice in our State. EDA’s are not allowed to give injections or to drill on teeth. They are mainly allowed to place and polish fillings, which greatly decreases the time a patient has to spend in the dental chair. EDA’s are legal in roughly half the states currently and in all branches of the U.S. Military. In two double blind studies conducted at UAB Dental School, it was proven that restorations performed by the EDA’s were equivalent to senior dental students and recent dental graduates.
The Dental Board Bill, SB203, which allows EDA’s to practice in our State, was presented to the State Legislature in 2013 and passed unanimously. Every Democrat and every Republican voted for SB203 and Governor Bentley signed it into law on May 16, of the same year.
Before and after the passage of this bill, the Dentists of the State have repeatedly been polled concerning EDA’s. Each time, they have voted in favor of expanding “access to care” and approving EDA’s. In the last poll, 73% of the Dentists responding were in favor of Expanded Duty Assistants being allowed to practice in our State.
So, if the vast majority of Dentists are in favor of this provision and the Legislature has passed it unanimously, why is this law not in effect?
The Answer: The Board of Dental Examiners of Alabama and the Alabama Dental Association have flip-flopped on the issue and have buried it in committee instead of implementing the now law as instructed. These two groups that lobbied in favor of EDA’s back in 2013 are now preventing the implementation of this desperately needed change. Organized Dentistry in Alabama (the Dental Board and Dental Association) is acting against the wishes of its rank and file member Dentists.
This is not the first time the Alabama Dental Association has blocked “Access to Care” for children and the underprivileged in our State.
For comments or questions, I can be reached at 256-452-1476 or via email at email@example.com
Thank you for your time and consideration.