State Update

Kansas Bill Seeks to Increase Access to Dental Care

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Since 1943, Kansas law has required dentists with satellite practices to be “physically present” for at least half of the time that “dentistry is performed” at each location. Specifically, current law provides that licensed dentists cannot operate dental offices, advertise the dentists’ names or associate together for the practice of dentistry unless each dentist is personally present in the dental office and operating as a dentist or personally overseeing the operations during a majority of the time each office is open. Typically, dentists have complied with the law by spending three days at a mid-size office that is open four or five days a week, and one day each at one or two small-town offices open two days a week. However, H.B. 2611 introduced by the Committee on Health and Human Services could dramatically alter the 71 year old law.

H.B. 2611 would reduce the amount of time an owner dentist would be required to be present in their office from 50% to 20%. During a committee hearing held February 17, several individuals testified for the bill. Proponents stated that reducing the amount of time required for dentists to be present in offices owned by dentists would allow dentists to open additional offices and expand general and specialty dental services to those in underserved areas.

The bill passed the full House February 27 by a vote of 123-0. The bill has been sent to the Senate for further consideration.