State Update

North Dakota Debates Alternative Workforce Models During Interim Session

(State Policy) Permanent link   All Posts

Although the North Dakota Legislative Assembly will not convene a regular legislative session during 2014, state legislators are meeting during the interim to discuss alternative workforce models. 

You may recall that H.B. 1454 was passed in 2013 by the North Dakota Legislative Assembly. Although the original bill language of H.B. 1454 created the role of dental therapist and advanced dental therapist, the final bill language changed significantly. Specifically, the final bill text states that during the 2013–2014 interim, the legislative management shall consider studying how to improve access to dental services and ways to address dental service provider shortages. The study would include the feasibility of using alternative workforce models, whether the use of incentives for dental service providers to locate to underserved areas in the state may improve access, and whether the state's medical assistance reimbursement rates impact access to dental services. The legislative management must report its findings and recommendations, together with any legislation required to implement the recommendations, to the 64th Legislative Assembly. The 64th Legislative Assembly will convene in regular session on January 6, 2015. 

On April 24, the Health Services Interim Committee met for the fourth time to hear both invited testimony and public comment regarding the committee’s study of how to improve access to dental services and ways to address dental service provider shortages. [1]

According to committee staff, the Health Services Interim Committee plans to hold two additional meetings over the next few months to further discuss the issue. The legislative management will hold a meeting on November 12–13. This meeting will be open to the public; however, no public testimony will be allowed. During the November meeting, the legislative management will receive the final report from the Health Services Interim Committee as well as any draft bill language the committee would like to submit for consideration for the next regular legislative session.

[1] During the July 31, 2013 Health Services Interim Committee meeting, at the request of Sen. Judy Lee (R-ND), Committee Chair, the Legislative Council staff presented a memorandum entitled Dental Services Study - Background Memorandum relating to the committee's study of how to improve access to dental services and ways to address dental service provider shortages. The memorandum detailed a proposed study plan for the committee to follow as it continued to discuss access to care issues and alternative workforce models. However, during that same meeting the committee approved a final study plan (see pdf page 6).