WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced March 9 that its staff has submitted a comment to the Ohio state Senate on proposed legislation that would broaden dental hygienists’ ability to work without a supervising dentist on-site.

 

The legislation would also allow for the licensure of dental therapists. These therapists are new to the dental industry and they offer some of the same basic services that dentists provide.

 

The FTC staff wrote that the legislation could help consumers by providing increased choice, competition and access to care, especially for those who are under-served. The staff noted, however, that under the current terms of the proposed legislation, supervising dentists would need to authorize general supervision of dental hygienists and therapists in mandatory written supervision agreements. The FTC staff believes this part of the bill could be removed, a reduction that would benefit consumers.

The FTC supports the licensure of dental therapists, as it would help consumers via enhanced competition. The staff noted the current language of the bill would allow the therapists to only practice in certain under-served areas. “This restriction would prevent many patients in Ohio from obtaining lower-cost and more accessible dental care from a dental therapist,” the comment stated.

 

The FTC voted 2-0 to issue the comment, which was sent to Ohio state Sen. Peggy Lehner on March 7. The staff contact for the case is Karen A. Goldman of the Office of Policy Planning.

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