ADEA State Update

Arizona Dental Therapy Legislation Continues to Move Forward in 2018

(State Policy, Education, Alternative Workforce Models, Dental Therapist) Permanent link   All Posts

DentalTherapyAZOn Nov. 28, the Arizona Senate Health and Human Services and House Health Committee of Reference (COR) approved a revised sunrise application to establish the role of dental therapist in Arizona. 

The approval of the sunrise application by the COR allows the group sponsoring the application, in this case, Dental Care of Arizona, to move forward in the development of legislation amending the Dental Practice Act (A.R.S. Chapter 11) to establish licensure and scope of practice for dental therapists.

The original sunrise application was submitted on Sept. 1. The revisions made by the application sponsor clarify several key points contained in the original application and modify the proposal based on recommendations from a stakeholder meeting called by Sen. Nancy Barto (R-AZ) on Nov. 2.

Below are brief summaries of some revisions to the original sunrise application:

  • Clarification of the supervisory relationship between dental therapists and their supervising dentists. Under the Collaborative Practice Agreement, and within the parameters of the scope of practice, the supervising dentist identifies the procedures a dental therapist will perform, the practice settings and locations the dental therapist can work in and the populations the dental therapist can serve.
  • Educational requirements have been modified to include a preceptorship of 400 hours (postgraduation, post-licensure) under the direct supervision of a licensed, practicing dentist in Arizona. This preceptorship sets minimum hours of direct supervision—the Collaborative Practice Agreement may specify more hours of direct supervision, based on the dentist’s assessment of the dental therapist’s work.
  • The licensure section adds the requirement that dental therapists pass the same clinical exam required for licensure of dentists for those procedures that dentists and dental therapists share in their respective scopes of practice. It further adds an acknowledgement that the Indian Health Service (IHS), Tribal or Urban Indian Health Program facilities may utilize dental therapists certified under the federal Community Health Aide Program and meet IHS certification requirements.
  • The scope of practice section provides additional clarification on procedures proposed for inclusion in the dental therapist’s scope of practice. 

According to COR staff, the next step in the process is for the application sponsor, Dental Care of Arizona, to find a state lawmaker to sponsor the bill through the legislative process and as of Dec. 6, that had not been done.

Duggan Dental