Non-fiscal 'Healthy Choices' legislation progressing
The WDA and its 3,000 members are committed to working with policy leaders to help reduce barriers to dental care in Wisconsin, even amid the financial constraints our state currently faces.
With that in mind, the WDA is proposing two pieces of "Healthy Choices" legislation – currently in the drafting stage – that will bring dental care to more Wisconsinites with little or no expense to taxpayers.
One plan advocates for two small changes to the Wisconsin Dental Practice Act.
First, it updates the state's definition of dentistry to the American Dental Association definition, which clarifies that dentists can offer dental treatments and services based on the most recent scientific and technological advances.
It also would allow dentists to assign more duties – such as finishing fillings and removing sutures – to trained, educated and certified Expanded Function Dental Auxiliaries (which can be either dental hygienists or dental assistants) with the close supervision of an on-site dentist.
Requiring the supervision of a dentist helps maintain safety and provides patients with a vital link to routine and comprehensive dental care. Expanding delegated duties would help Wisconsin dentists and their staff care for more patients in a cost-effective and more efficient manner.
In addition, WDA also supports legislation that would prohibit dental benefit plans from setting fees for services not covered by the plan. To date, 21 states have passed similar legislation that allows dentists and patients to make treatment decisions without third-party interference.
A healthy state is attractive to new businesses, jobs and economic growth. Dentists want to help, and we urge legislators to join in our efforts to break down barriers to dental care for Wisconsin residents. Working together to support the WDA's "Healthy Choices" plan – and without spending more tax money – we can help improve the health of residents and our state.
If you'd like to discuss WDA's "Healthy Choices" legislation further, please contact Government Affairs Director Mara Brooks at 608-250-3442 or [email protected].
|WDA Foundation grants help Wisconsinites get dental care
Thousands of Wisconsin residents will receive much-needed dental care in 2011 through $38,100 in grants recently awarded by the WDA Foundation.
The 19 grant recipients for 2011 include the Brown County Oral Health Partnership in Green Bay, which will use its $2,000 grant to serve adults with developmental disabilities and provide school-based care to low-income children. Healthy Smiles for Wood County will use its $1,000 grant to purchase dental supplies and educational materials and Community Dental Clinic of Jefferson County will use its $3,000 grant to help treat its low-income patients, 60 percent of whom are children.
A complete list of grant recipients is available on the WDA website.
"While donated care alone is hardly the solution to dental access problems in Wisconsin, it does play an important role in getting state residents the treatment they need," said WDA Foundation President Dr. Anthony Sciascia, a general dentist from Mondovi. "The foundation is glad to provide these grants to help terrific, community-minded organizations with their important work."
|WDA Legislative Day 2011:
Focus on helping people in need of oral health care
Bipartisanship and working together to improve the delivery of dental care in Wisconsin was the predominant tone at WDA Legislative Day 2011, which featured state leaders of both parties, including Gov. Scott Walker, Senate President Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) and Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha).
"We are here today to focus on 'Healthy Choices', demonstrate the unity and strength of the dental profession and build relationships that can help enhance oral health care delivery in the Badger State," Dr. Steve Stoll of Neenah, WDA president-elect and host of this year's event, told the crowd of more than 275 dentists, dental team members and Marquette University School of Dentistry students.
Dr. Steve Stoll introduced one of his lawmakers, State Senate President Mike
Gov. Walker renewed his commitment to working with the dental community. "The WDA has 85 percent of this state's dental health industry as its members – we should be listening and working with you!"
Rep. Barca noted his support for dental-related bills currently being drafted by the WDA. "The WDA's bill to expand the scope of services that can be provided by trained dental staff under the supervision and direction of a licensed, practicing dentist is well thought out," he said.
Sen. Ellis reviewed the fiscal challenges facing both Republicans and Democrats because of the state's current budget crisis. "We must and we will balance this budget," he said.
After a morning of speakers, including WDA leadership and national political TV news consultant and University of Wisconsin – Madison professor of political science Ken Goldstein, attendees visited the state Capitol to meet and talk with legislators and staff about WDA's "Healthy Choices" agenda for reducing barriers to dental care in Wisconsin.
|Dental Academy participants honored with molar awards
Member dentists used some of their time in Madison on Legislative Day to present participants in the WDA's first Legislative Dental Academy with acrylic molar awards.
The "Dental 101" seminar in January drew more than 60 attendees who learned about several key aspects of dentistry in Wisconsin, including the barriers to care many low-income families face and WDA's "Healthy Choices" approach to ensuring all Wisconsinites have access to oral health care.