On Oct. 11,
SB 541 passed the full Senate by
a vote of 21–15, with two excused absences. The bill would establish the
qualifications for dental therapist licensure, including education, examination
and completion of a supervised clinical practice requirement. The bill’s
primary sponsor, Sen. Mike Shirkey (R-MI), serves as Chair of the Senate Committee
on Health Policy. The bill has four other cosponsors.
following is a summary of some of the bill’s key provisions:
To qualify for licensure as
a dental therapist, an individual must demonstrate to the Department of
Licensing and Regulatory Affairs that he or she meets all the following
from a dental therapy education program that satisfies all of the following:
the standards established under statute for accreditation of a degree-granting
program in dental therapy education at an approved postsecondary education institution.
the accreditation standards for dental therapy education programs established
by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.
properly accredited under statute.
any other requirements for dental therapy education programs adopted by the
Michigan Board of Dentistry.
a comprehensive, competency-based clinical examination approved by the
department that includes an examination of the applicant’s knowledge of the
relevant laws in Michigan.
500 hours of supervised clinical practice under the direct supervision of a
dentist and in conformity with rules adopted by the Michigan Board of
An individual engaged in completing his or her supervised clinical practice
under this subdivision is eligible for a temporary license as a dental
Written Practice Agreement
The bill as written
provides that a dental therapist may practice only under the supervision of a
dentist and through a written practice agreement signed by both the dentist and
the dental therapist. The bill outlines certain criteria that the written
agreement must contain, such as a plan for managing medical emergencies in each
practice setting in which the dental therapist provides care and protocols for
administering and dispensing medications.
Supervision and Scope of
Under the supervision of a
dentist, a licensed dental therapist may provide any of the following care or
services (this list is not exhaustive):
and administering via the oral or topical route nonnarcotic analgesics and
anti-inflammatory and antibiotic medications as prescribed by a health care
extraction of erupted primary teeth.
and placement of direct restoration in primary and permanent teeth.
A complete listing of
procedures included within the scope of practice of a dental therapist may be
found in Sec. 16657 of SB 541.
A dental therapist may
provide services under the general supervision of a licensed dentist in the
following health settings (this list is not exhaustive):
federally qualified health center.
health setting in a geographic area that is designated as a dental shortage
area by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
bill has been sent to the House Committee on Health Policy for further
“Direct supervision” means that a dentist complies
with all of the following: (i) designates a patient of record upon whom the
procedures are to be performed and describes the procedures to be performed,
(ii) examines the patient before prescribing the procedures to be performed and upon completion of the procedures, and
(iii) is physically present in the office at the time the procedures are being