ADEA State Update

Maine Senate Sustains Governor’s Veto of Dental Therapy Bill

(State Policy, Education, Dental Therapist, Higher Education) Permanent link   All Posts

gavel2LD 1514, sponsored by Rep. Heather Sirocki, a dental hygienist, was vetoed by the Gov. Paul LePage (R-ME) on April 26. The bill as passed by both Chambers amended previously passed statutory language which created the category of a dental hygiene therapist and detailed educational and supervisory requirements. Specifically, the bill as amended by the Maine legislature does the following:

The bill corrects conflicts created by the enactment of Public Law 2015, chapter 429, which repealed and replaced the laws governing dental professionals. The bill makes the following changes to the provisions of law enacted in chapter 429:

  • It changes the term "dental hygiene therapist" to "dental therapist";
  • It changes the term "dental hygiene therapy" to "dental therapy";
  • It specifies that an applicant who has successfully completed a master's degree, instead of a bachelor's degree or higher, in a dental therapy education program that is accredited by either the Board of Dental Practice or the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) or a successor organization approved by the board meets the requirements for having completed a dental therapy education program;
  • It increases the number of hours of supervised clinical practice that an applicant for dental therapist authority must complete from 2,000 to 2,500;
  • It removes the requirements that a dental therapy education program be consistent with a specified model curriculum, be consistent with programs in other states and be approved by the board;
  • It limits to five the number of dental therapists that a single dentist may supervise at one time; and
  • It removes the requirement that a dental therapist practice under the direct supervision of a dentist. 

Although the bill was vetoed by the governor, on April 29, the Maine House of Representatives voted 141-7-3 to override the veto. However, on that same day, the Maine Senate sustained the veto with a vote of 20-14. As a result, the final status of the bill is that the governor’s veto has been sustained.

Duggan Dental