House committee hears testimony on bill to expand access to dental care

This week, the House Human Services committee resumed testimony on S.20, the bill to establish dental therapists in Vermont.

The committee is the first in the House to take up the bill after it passed the Senate last year. Hearing from a range of advocates, including VPIRG’s Falko Schilling, dental professionals, administrators and analysts, the committee received important points on all aspects of S.20. Dental therapists, which are mid-level dental providers, have been proven to provide first class care and improve access particularly for underserved populations, such as those enrolled in Medicaid. As Falko explained,

“According to a 2013 Community Catalyst report, which explored the practice of dental therapists in Alaska and Minnesota, dental therapists are mainly providing routine and preventive care to underserved populations including rural, tribal, and those enrolled in Medicaid. In fact, according to the report 78% of the patients served in Minnesota are enrolled in Medicaid.”

Moving forward, we expect the Human Services committee to vote on S.20 within the week. Let your representative(s) know you’d like them to support dental therapists by taking our easy action here!

For more information about dental therapy, check out the Vermont Oral Health Care for All website.