Legislature(2005 - 2006)
05/05/2005 04:55 PM Senate FIN
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* first hearing in first committee of referral
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CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 211(FIN) "An Act extending the termination date of the Board of Dental Examiners; and relating to dentists and dental hygienists." This was the first hearing for this bill in the Senate Finance Committee. HEATH HILLIARD, Staff to Representative Mike Kelly, the bill's sponsor, explained that, while this bill would "essentially" extend the Board of Dental Examiners, it would impose a few changes to existing Statutes to make them "more relevant to existing situations". All involved entities, including the Alaska Dental Society (ADS), the Alaska State Dental Hygiene Association (ASDHA), and the Division of Occupational Licensing, Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, have agreed to the proposed changes. The changes would include the implementation of continuing education requirements for Dental Hygienists, modifying the inspection period for radiological equipment used in dentistry, clarifying licensing qualifications regarding impairments that might impair an applicant's ability to practice dentistry, and clarifying the statutes for specialty licensure by requiring that the applicant meet certain qualifications for dentists in the State. The extension of the Board, as well as some of the changes included in the bill, were supported in the findings of a Legislative Audit report for Audit Control Number 08-20031-04, [copy on file] conducted in August 2004. Co-Chair Green noted that the Committee had recently adopted legislation regarding foreign trained medical doctors. To that point, she asked whether that bill would affect dentists. Mr. Hilliard voiced being unsure of the impact of that legislation on the dental profession. However, he noted that there such a concern in regards to the status of one dental practitioner. Co-Chair Green voiced that the impact of that bill on the dental field should be established, as this could be the opportunity to address issues that might be occurring in regards to foreign trained dentists. 6:04:50 PM JIM TOWLE, Executive Director, Alaska Dental Society, testified via teleconference from an offnet site and voiced being unfamiliar with the bill pertaining to foreign trained medical doctors. He understood that currently a dentist could not get licensed in the State of Alaska unless they had graduated from a dental school accredited by the Commission of Dental Accreditation, which is a quasi-governmental operation supported by the American Dental Association. In response to a question from Co-Chair Green, Mr. Towle stated that in order to be licensed in the State of Alaska, a dentist must be a graduate of a school in either the United States or Canada that is accredited by the Commission. Therefore a graduate of a foreign dental school would be ineligible to be licensed as a dentist in Alaska unless they had attended and graduated from one of the accredited schools. Co-Chair Green asked whether Mr. Towle was aware of the legislation that had recently been passed regarding medical doctor licensure in the State. Mr. Towle communicated that he was unaware of that legislation. Co-Chair Green stated therefore, that the question is whether that legislation would affect the licensure of foreign trained dentists. Senator Olson conveyed that that bill pertained to medical doctors/physicians. Co-Chair Green asked whether that terminology might include a Doctor of Dentistry (DDS). Mr. Towle responded that some dentists "are duel degreed" as a DDS/MD. Senator Olson, who was a medical doctor, affirmed that only a DDS/MD would be affected by the legislation on foreign trained medical doctors. Co-Chair Green acknowledged. She noted that were this an issue with dentists, it could be addressed separately. Co-Chair Wilken moved to report the bill from Committee with individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objections, CS HB 211(FIN) was REPORTED from Committee with fiscal note #1 dated March 29,2005 from the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. This note depicts an expense of $124,100 in fiscal year FY 07.