Wednesday, March 14, was the final day of the 2018 legislative session. With a grinding day that saw 57 conference committee reports hitting legislators’ desks, all knew it would be a long day, but no one anticipated an ending that Speaker Bosma would describe as “chaotic.” Despite an unprecedented “extension” past the midnight deadline, legislators still left issues surrounding school safety and gun regulation unfinished. Still, the IDA was able to marshal legislation through the process that produced a measure to increase access to dental care for Hoosiers.
HEA 1116, included in IDA’s legislative package and authored by Reps. David Frizzell, Dr. Denny Zent and Robin Shakleford, unanimously passed the Indiana General Assembly and is headed to Governor Holcomb. The bill, supported by both the IDA and the Indiana Dental Hygienists Association (IDHA), will allow dental hygienists to provide preventive hygiene services without the direct supervision of a dentist in non-private practice settings. The intent is to allow hygienists more flexibility in providing preventive services in public health settings. The measure has been praised by Indiana legislators as a positive step toward enhancing access to oral health preventive services.
Opioid Measures Head to the Governor’s Office
SEA 221 will phase in INSPECT participation requirements between July 1, 2018, and July 1, 2021. By 2021, all practitioners would be required to consult INSPECT prior to prescribing an opioid.
SB 225 will require all health care prescribers of narcotics to receive two hours of CE in opioid prescribing and opioid abuse. Dentists who maintain a controlled substance registration and DEA permit would need to complete this CE by the end of the 2020 licensure cycle. The Indiana State Board of Dentistry has the charge of approving which CE programs will fulfill the legislations requirement. The IDA is already in communication with the ISBD with suggestions for CE programs.
Healthcare Workforce Surveys
SEA 221 requires healthcare providers, including dentists, to provide information related to the their practice, including information regarding their Medicaid practice, when renewing a professional license online. The measure also requires the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency to compile the information collected into an annual report; post a copy of the report on the agency’s Internet web site; and submit the report to the office of Medicaid Policy and Planning, the Department of Workforce Development, the Commission on Improving the Status of Children, the Legislative Council, and the Office of the Attorney General.
Two pieces of the IDA legislative package did not survive the 2018 session.
HB 1049, authored by Rep. Denny Zent, would have required dental insurance companies to annually report their claims loss ratios to the Indiana State Department of Insurance, and for the Department of Insurance to make the information available to the public. IDA testified that the requirement could be a helpful tool to employers, allowing them to assess if insurance companies were making efficient use of the employer’s premium dollars. The House Insurance Committee listened to testimony; unfortunately the bill was not called for a vote.
SB 183, authored by Sen. Jim Merritt, would have amended Indiana’s current definition of the practice of dentistry to reflect broader model language recommended by the ADA. The bill did not get a hearing, but Senator Merritt has committed to reintroduce a standard definition bill during the 2019 Legislature.
Elections are just around the corner and there is an historic number of legislative retirements this year. Please get to know your candidates and contact Ed Popcheff, Director of Governmental Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org to become a contact dentist.