Keep Moving Forward
I am so honored and humbled to be serving as the President of the Illinois Dental Hygienists’ Association. It is my goal to utilize this time to serve all RDH in Illinois and continue to keep our profession moving forward. It has been a whirlwind since being sworn in on November 15, 2015 at the Heartland Dental corporate facility in Effingham, IL during the IDHA Annual Session. The 2015 IDHA Annual Session was filled with amazing CE speakers, vendor sponsorship, student fun, HY-PAC fundraising event, and a President’s reception celebrating the year of service Sherri Lukes provided IDHA. The entire weekend moved smoothly and at record speed. The IDHA House of Delegates unanimously passed a resolution that advocates for the expansion of appropriate dental hygiene diagnostic and treatment codes. The delegates from Illinois to the ADHA annual session will present it to the District VIII trustee, Lisa Moravec, for consideration at the 2016 ADHA annual session in Pittsburgh. With the expanding scope of practice for Dental Hygienists’, it was determined that codes that more accurately identify levels of treatment are necessary. What a great way to keep moving forward!
Historically, dental hygiene was created as a distinct profession positioned in dental public health. Wide access to preventive care provided by educated dental hygiene professionals was the incentive leading Dr. Alfred C. Fones to educate the first dental hygienist, Irene Newman. Since the profession began, prevention, public health, and improving access to care remain at the core of dental hygiene. Now IDHA gets to celebrate the passage of HB500 legislation allowing direct access to oral healthcare services provided by a registered dental hygienist in public health settings! Illinois has become th38th state to have increased Access to Care. This came as a result of many hours of work and negotiation.
Registered Dental Hygienists (RDH), after meeting requirements outlined in the statute, will be able to provide oral health and preventive services, in select public health settings, without the requirement of an exam first by a dentist. With a written collaborative agreement, the RDH will refer to the collaborating dentist for a full dental exam. This legislation creates a Public Health Dental Hygienist position in Illinois and increases the opportunity for the public to go directly to the hygienist for services. Settings include public health department clinics, Community Health Centers and FQHC’s, school-based programs, and other public health settings.
What starts here can change and continue to change the profession of Dental Hygiene here in Illinois and other states as well. There are around 8500 RDH in Illinois. Each one of us has the ability to change the life of someone who can go on to change the life of someone else. It is an impact that multiplies over time. Imagine the impact the RDH in Illinois can have when we all work together? Let me tell you it would be a force to reckon with. Change can begin with anyone and happen anywhere. IDHA needs and wants you ALL to be a part of our organization. Do you have ideas on how to move our profession forward? Do you have a specific talent you would like to donate to IDHA? Is there a committee you would like to volunteer to be a part of? We are better together and IDHA needs you ALL to be involved to continue increasing the dental hygiene scope of practice in Illinois and to keep moving forward!
I look forward to hearing from you.
Gaylene V. Baker, RDH, BSDH, MBA
IDHA – Your Voice; Your Future; Your Profession.
“One of the major keys to success is to keep moving forward on the journey, making the best of the detours and interruptions, turning adversity into advantages” John C. Maxwell