The Illinois Dental Hygiene Association (IDHA) celebrates the passage of HB500 legislation allowing direct access to oral healthcare services provided by a registered dental hygienist in public health settings! On December 2, 2015, the Illinois House of Representatives, concurred by 105-to-4 votes with a pair of Senate amendments (2 and 5) to House Bill 500. The bill is the result of many long negotiations between IDHA, the Illinois State Dental Society, the Illinois Public Health Association and the PEW Charitable Trust Foundation.
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.
IDHA believes passing this legislative measure will significantly increase direct access to individuals who are currently not receiving routine oral healthcare services. Medicaid recipients and individuals who are uninsured and 200% below the federal poverty level will be the benefactors of this care. IDHA is proud and excited to have achieved direct access to oral healthcare services provided by an RDH who has graduated from an accredited dental hygiene program, and is licensed through a similar national, regional and state testing process that all dentists complete.
In another portion of the legislation that passed, dental assistants with additional training will be allowed, under the direct supervision of a dentist, to do scaling of teeth only above the gumline, on healthy children, ages 12 and under who are covered by Medicaid or 200% below the federal poverty level. IDHA contested and challenged strongly for the elimination of this language in the bill, and will continue to monitor and provide input into the specific educational requirements needed by a dental assistant to scale teeth.
IDHA is proud to have continued to pursue this legislation and looks forward to increasing access to care for the underserved in Illinois.
HB500 was sent to Governor Rauner to sign into law. IDHA will continue providing information as HB500 progresses through the legislative process and requirements / protocols as they become available.
Gaylene V. Baker, RDH, BSDH, MBA
Kimberly K. Benkert, RDH, BSDH, MPH, COM, FAADH
IDHA Legislation Chair
IDHA Past President
ADHA Past President