Senate Health Committee hears arguments for and against dental therapists bill

Senate Health Committee hears arguments for bill that would license dental therapists
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Senate Health Committee hears arguments for bill that would license dental therapists

MADISON, Wis. - A coalition of more than 50 groups is urging the Legislature to join with other states and countries facing similar shortages of dental professionals and pass a bill licensing dental therapists. 

The position is a step below a dentist. 

Wisconsin's bipartisan measure was introduced in March, but it faces opposition from the Wisconsin Dental Association and Marquette University, which houses the state's only dental school. 

"Providing dental practices the option to include these well-trained dental professionals and their dental teams will offer increased access, lower patient costs and savings for the state, all without compromising the standard of care," said Republican Sen. David Craig. 

But the Wisconsin Dental Association's Matt Rossetto took a different stance. 

"It doesn't reduce cost, it doesn't get more people care," Rossetto said. "It is simply unnecessary to create an entirely new workforce from the ground up when we know that investing in your existing workforce will efficiently solve the problem."

Dental therapists are currently authorized in Arizona, Maine, Minnesota and Vermont, as well as tribal communities in Alaska, Oregon and Washington. 

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