State Update

North Dakota Legislature Holds Committee Meeting on Access to Dental Care

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On July 30, the North Dakota Health Services Interim Committee met to hear 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. Specifically, the committee heard testimony by the following:

  • Representatives of the State Board of Dental Examiners regarding the potential for establishing dental residencies in the state and any related costs; and the availability of liability insurance for dental therapists and expanded function dental assistants and dental hygienists;
  • Representatives of the State Department of Health regarding dental loan repayment program limits on the number of dentists funded per facility during the biennium and the potential for expanding the dental loan repayment program, including costs and eligible candidates; and
  • Representatives of the Department of Human Services regarding areas of the state lacking Medicaid dental service providers; and billing and reimbursement for services provided by dental therapists and expanded function dental assistants and dental hygienists. 

You may recall that H.B. 1454 was passed in 2013 by the North Dakota Legislative Assembly. The final bill text provides 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 legislative management must report its study findings and recommendations, together with any legislation required to implement the recommendations, to the 64th Legislative Assembly which will convene in regular session on January 6, 2015.