2016 Legislative Priorities

2016 Legislative Priorities

Our 2016 Focus

Watch this webinar to learn more about our legislative priorities for 2016 (originally presented in December 2015). 

State Legislation

  • Dental hygienists working under remote supervision.  This legislation authorized dental hygienists to practice, with certain requirements and restrictions, under remote supervision of a licensed dentist.  It was intended to allow more hygienists to work remotely in safety net settings.  This legislation relates to the oral health plan goal, "The oral health workforce in Virginia adequately meets the needs of its citizens by working to the full extent of their education and training." This legislation is supported by both the Virginia Dental Hygienists' Association and the Virginia Dental Association.
    UPDATE: Because the language stipulates that dental hygienists working under remote supervision in safety net settings must be employed by a dentist, the Board of Dentistry determines that the regulations are not applicable to hygienists working for (or volunteering at) safety net sites (FQHCs, free clinics, and others). VaOHC will be working with partners who are committed to remedying this in the 2017 legislative session. 
  • Exemption from registration requirements for mobile dental clinics in safety net settings.  This VDA-sponsored legislation augmented the code to ease regulations that govern mobile dental clinic registration for the dental safety net. 
  • Volunteer health providers agreements with the Virginia Department of Health.  This legislation relieved the financial burden and provide immunity for health care providers who work with the Department of Health to care for low-income individuals. 
  • Report on increased sharing of electronic health records.  This legislation directed the Virginia Department of Health to evaluate and make recommendations regarding inter-office medical records sharing between health systems and other health care providers. VaOHC supports the inclusion of hospital-based dental records, as many hospitals have onsite dental clinics and individuals often visits the emergency department for relief from dental pain and infection.

VaOHC continued to support Medicaid expansion efforts as well as legislation that lays a foundation of need for comprehensive adult dental benefits in Medicaid (no proactive legislation at this time). 

Federal Legislation

We continue to monitor federal funding for the State Children's Health Insurance Partnership (SCHIP) program to ensure SCHIP funding remains intact until comparable coverage is available in Virginia's health insurance marketplace or "exchange." SCHIP (known as "FAMIS" in Virginia) provides affordable health insurance coverage for over 104,000 children and 4,600 pregnant women in Virginia.  

Additional Resources: 

Our Impact

Legislation was passed that effectively expands the reach of dental safety net clinics and supports interprofessional collaboration.  The Coalition will continue to  work with partners in 2017 to ensure the language regarding dental hygienists who practice under remote supervision is remedied so that dental safety net providers who employ hygienists can benefit from this ruling. 

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