The 2012 Legislative Session proved to be one of the Florida Dental Association's most favorable ones in several years. First, the budget approved contained ongoing funding for the Florida adult Medicaid dental program, an increase in funding for the Florida Healthy Kids dental program, $150,000 for the Department of Health to continue the fluoridation of public water systems program and, for many Medicaid dental providers the most important aspect, it allowed for Medicaid dental providers to have an option instead of mandated managed care.
SB 1040, sponsored by Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, was signed by the governor and allows dental hygienists to administer local anesthesia under the direct supervision of a dentist, after completion of 60 hours of training. Patients may not be sedated or under the age of 18 to receive hygienist-administered anesthesia. The bill also changes the dental hygiene clinical exam to the ADEX hygiene exam, which is consistent with the dentist clinical exam. The trifecta of this bill is language which codifies that graduates of non-accredited dental schools must complete a two-year supplemental general dentistry program before taking the clinical licensure exam. This closes a loophole through which dentists from non-accredited schools who completed an accredited specialty program were allowed to take the exam. The Florida Dental Association has worked very hard to close this gap and is very proud this legislation has finally been signed into law.
The FDA's legislators of the year for 2012 are Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff and Representative Richard Corcoran, R-New Port Richey. The Dr. Lewis Earle Legislative Service Awards go to Representative Mia Jones, D-Jacksonville, Representative Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City, Representative Ron Renuart, R-Ponte Vedra Beach, Representative Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, and Representative Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee. Senator Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, is the FDA's Champion for Dentistry as he was the key player in obtaining the Medicaid proviso language which allows Medicaid dental providers to continue with fee-for-service if they choose instead of being mandated to contract with a managed care plan for children's dental services. We thank all those who support dentistry and ask for you to thank them as well.
2013 Dentists Day on the Hill is scheduled for Wednesday, April 3. Mark your calendars now and plan to attend. This one day out of your practice may very well influence what you do the rest of the days in your practice! See you in Tallahassee!