On 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
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
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.