The nationwide momentum for greater access to dental care surged forward today in Washington state: House Bill 1364, the Dental Access bill, passed a major hurdle in the House of Representatives, emerging from the House Health Care & Wellness Committee.
State Rep. Eileen Cody (D-West Seattle), chair of the committee, has been a longtime champion of workforce improvements in access to dental care. Of the Dental Access bill, she says the following:
“Too many Washington kids and families can’t get the oral health care they need for lifelong health. Like nurse practitioners or physician assistants, dental therapists work as part of a health care team. With all but five Washington counties insufficiently served by the current workforce, dental therapists can extend care to people who have been suffering without it for far too long.”
To move toward a vote in the Senate and the Governor’s desk, the House of Representatives must pass the bill by Wednesday, March 8. We thank Rep. Cody for her leadership for greater access to dental care.
Washington is one of a number of states around the country implementing or undertaking authorization of dental therapists. With the House and Senate passage last week of Senate Bill 5079 recognizing the sovereign right of Tribal governments to use dental therapists to serve community needs, plus the Dental Access bill’s clearing this crucial hurdle, Washington is progressing toward better oral health care for kids and families.