Lobby Day 2019

The Massachusetts Dental Hygienists’ Association had a very successful Lobby Day held on Tuesday, February 26 at The State House in Boston.

There were 246 people registered, including representation from all eight Dental Hygiene Schools in the Commonwealth. There was an exciting panel of speakers and of course opportunities to speak with state senators and state representatives leaving them with information about our Legislative Priorities. Our voices were definitely heard!

Four bills were filed on behalf of MDHA.  They are as follows: 

“An Act To Improve Oral Health For All Massachusetts Residents” (Dental Therapy);

“An Act Relative to Dental Hygienists” (Nitrous Oxide);

“An Act Relative to the Collaborative Agreement of a Public Health Dental Hygienist” (Dental Malpractice Insurance Prohibition); and

“An Act Relative to the Sustainability of Public Health Dental Hygienists Through Adequate Reimbursements” (Third Party Insurance)

Please feel free to contact Katherine Pelullo, RDH, MEd, CRP Chair, for clarification/questions/comments.  Her email address is [email protected]

Featured Picture Bristol Community College Students & Faculty with MDHA President Kate Soal

MDHA LEGISLATIVE WRAP UP 2017-2018

The Massachusetts Dental Hygienists’ Association undertook a robust legislative agenda during the 2017-2018 legislative session that concluded on January 1st, 2019.

Five bills were filed on behalf of MDHA.  They were as follows: 

“An Act Authorizing Dental Therapists to Expand Access to Oral Health” (Dental Therapy);

“An Act Relative to Dental Hygienists” (Nitrous Oxide);

“An Act Relative to the Collaborative Agreement of a Public Health Dental Hygienist” (Dental Malpractice Insurance Prohibition);

“An Act Relative to the Sustainability of Public Health Dental Hygienists Through Adequate Reimbursements” (Third Party Insurance); and

“An Act Relative to Oral Health Access for MassHealth Patients” (MassHealth Mandate).

All bills were assigned to specific committees based on their content area.  MDHA provided oral and written testimony in support of their legislative initiatives during the respective committee hearings.  MDHA was successful in having most of its bills reported favorably from their initial committee assignments which allowed them to continue along the legislative process.  Unfortunately, all MDHA bills were sent to study or died in committee prior to the end of the formal legislative session on July 31st, 2018.  The exception was the Dental Therapy bill which remained under consideration through the informal session.  No further action was taken on the Dental Therapy bill during the informal session; therefore, the Dental Therapy bill died in the Ways and Means Committee when the legislative session officially concluded on January 1st, 2019.

The new legislative session commenced on January 2nd, 2019.  All new bills must be filed/refiled by January 18th, 2019.  MDHA intends to refile all bills from the previous legislative session except “An Act Relative to Oral Health Access for MassHealth Patients” (MassHealth Mandate).

Below is the chronology relative to the Dental Therapy bill from the 2017-2018 legislative session.   

DENTAL THERAPY UPDATE

H2474/S1169 “An Act Authorizing Dental Therapists to Expand Access to Oral Health” was introduced for the 2017-2018 legislative session by Majority Leader Harriette L. Chandler and Representatives Smitty Pignatelli and Kate Hogan.  The profession’s name was changed from Dental Hygiene Practitioner to Dental Therapist to be consistent with the CODA Accreditation Standards for this new profession.  The bill was referred to the Joint Committee on Public Health and heard at the Committee’s public hearing on September 12th, 2017.  MDHA provided oral and written testimony in support of the bill at the hearing.  H2474 was reported out favorably from the Joint Committee on Public Health on April 24th, 2018 and referred to the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing following private negotiations with the Massachusetts Dental Society from which MDHA was excluded participation.  At that point the bill was renumbered and retitled to H4454 “An Act to improve oral health for all Massachusetts residents”.  It was reported favorably out of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing on June 1st, 2018 and referred to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.  Separately, language creating Dental Therapy in Massachusetts had also been included in the Senate Comprehensive Cost Containment and Reform bill.  In the final weeks of the legislative session, the House leadership decided to include language creating Dental Therapy in the Comprehensive Health Care Reform legislation that was being debated in the Joint Conference Committee.  The formal session concluded on July 31st without the conference committee reaching agreement on the Comprehensive Health Care Reform legislation.  While the bill sponsors expressed interest in passing the bill during the informal session, the Dental Therapy bill died in the Ways and Means Committee when the 2017-2018 legislative session officially concluded on January 1st, 2019. 

Please feel free to contact Katherine Pelullo, RDH, MEd, CRP Chair, for clarification/questions/comments.  Her email address is [email protected]

MDHA’s News “Bites” President Soal visits MWCC

Recently President Kate Soal visited the Dental Hygiene Students at Mount Wachusett Community College.

STUDENTS ARE OUR FUTURE and President Soal encouraged them to be involved with their professional association during school and after graduation.

As a professional member, you have access to:

  • Leadership Opportunities
  • Online Career Center & Employment Resources
  • Discounts on Professional and Personal services nationwide
  • CE Programming
  • Research grants, fellowships, community service grants and educational scholarships

MDHA’s “News Bites” Meet your 2018 – 2019 Officers

Congratulations to the newly installed  2018 – 2019 Officers of MDHA

from left to right:  Amanda Berthiaume (Alternate Delegate), Catalina Fajardo (Alternate Delegate), E Jane Crocker (Assistant Treasurer),  Lisa LaSpina (Immediate Past President), Katherine Pelullo (Speaker of the House),  Pamela LaCerte (President Elect),  Sarah Crow (Delegate), Katherine Soal (President),  Vanessa Powers (Delegate), Robin Murch (Alternate Delegate), Jennifer Singel (Secretary), Ashley LaVallee (Assistant Secretary), Virginia Heroux (Vice President), Gita Jozsef (Treasurer)

Legislative Update

Friends and colleagues:

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

LEGISLATIVE PROCESS BACKGROUND

The Massachusetts legislature conducts its business on a two-year cycle.  Bills for the current session, which concludes on January 2nd, 2019, were filed in January 2017.  Each bill is assigned a number and subsequently referred to a committee.  Most healthcare bills are referred to the Joint Committee on Public Health.  The individual committees hold public hearings for interested parties to submit both oral and written testimony; thereafter, the committee meets in executive session and votes whether to report the bills out favorably.  Bills reported out favorably are referred to a second committee and continue along the legislative process.  Bills not reported out favorably by the assigned date are sent to study, which means they will not be considered for the remainder of that legislative session.  Most bills are assigned to/voted upon by three committees prior to being brought to the floor for a vote by the entire legislative branch.  Bills approved by one legislative branch are then sent to the other branch for a vote.  Following passage by both branches, bills are sent to the governor for his signature.  July 31st of the second year concludes the formal legislative session; thereafter, the legislature meets in informal session until the legislative session concludes.  Formal votes do not occur during informal sessions so that a bill brought to the floor for consideration will immediately fail if one legislator states that he/she is opposed to the bill.  Therefore, bills deemed controversial are generally given top priority to maximize their opportunity of passage during the formal session.

DENTAL THERAPY UPDATE

H2474/S1169 “An Act Authorizing Dental Therapists to Expand Access to Oral Health” was introduced for the 2017-2018 legislative session by Majority Leader Harriette L. Chandler and Representatives Smitty Pignatelli and Kate Hogan.  The profession’s name was changed from Dental Hygiene Practitioner to Dental Therapist to be consistent with the CODA Accreditation Standards for this new profession.  The bill was referred to the Joint Committee on Public Health and heard at the Committee’s public hearing on September 12th, 2017.  MDHA provided oral and written testimony in support of the bill at the hearing.  H2474 was reported out favorably from the Joint Committee on Public Health on April 24th, 2018 and referred to the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing following private negotiations with the Massachusetts Dental Society from which MDHA was excluded participation.  At that point the bill was renumbered and retitled to H4454 “An Act to improve oral health for all Massachusetts residents”.  It was reported favorably out of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing on June 1st, 2018 and referred to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.  Separately, language creating Dental Therapy in Massachusetts had also been included in the Senate Comprehensive Cost Containment and Reform bill.  In the final weeks of the legislative session, the House leadership decided to include language creating Dental Therapy in the Comprehensive Health Care Reform legislation that was being debated in the Joint Conference Committee.  The formal session concluded on July 31st without the conference committee reaching agreement on the Comprehensive Health Care Reform legislation.  Currently, there is interest among the Dental Therapy stand alone bill’s sponsors to move the bill forward during the informal session that concludes on January 2nd, 2019.  Please feel free to contact Katherine Pelullo, CRP Chair, for clarification/questions/comments.  Her email address is [email protected]

All the best,

Massachusetts Dental Hygienists’ Association

Council on Regulations & Practice

Katherine Pelullo RDH MEd Chair

Carolyn Wehler RDH MPH

E Jane Crocker RDH

Holly Arcadipane RDH BSDH, MS

The Perspective of Two New Graduates Attending ADHA Annual Session

Each year MDHA gives the opportunity to two new graduates to attend ADHA Annual Session – please meet Julia Lavigne (right) and Julie Cady (left).

Julie Lavigne: “I was so happy when I was chosen to attend the annual session. Being a recent graduate I was so excited to meet my new colleagues from around the country and learn more about what I can do to be an active member of the ADHA community. It was amazing to see how excited others were to still be practicing in the field after 20-30 years. Hearing everyone’s success story and what dental hygiene has meant and done for them was one of my favorite parts.  I then had the opportunity to sit in on the district meetings and see my colleagues speak up for things they believe in. Everyone’s voice was heard and I loved being a part of it. I can’t wait to attend next years annual session with my colleagues and to continue to be an active member of the ADHA. Thank you MDHA for this opportunity!”

Julie Cady: “I had the absolute best pleasure to attend the Annual Session this year as a student delegate. I was one of the two students that were chosen to attend as a recent graduate. What I expected to gain from attending ADHA’s 95th Annual Session was to be able to participate and experience what the ADHA was working for. I wanted to see what all the buzz was about. I wanted to experience firsthand without the words and visions of others.

And all I can say is “WOW”!! This experience exceeded my expectations! I am truly grateful for the opportunity. I now understand why all members absolutely LOVE attending the Annual Session.

My first day there I attended the 5k walk/run. It was a great event to kick-off for all the fun activities for the rest of the week. Not to mention, it was my first 5k race and I had the honor of walking it with my very own professor who I admire and adore so much! After the race, I attended the After-Glow party. I networked with fellow colleagues and gained knowledge from other individuals who are practicing in the dental hygiene line of work. Any person I spoke with was very welcoming, inviting and excited to see a student delegate. I attended workshops and classes where I earned CEU credits. I attended the exhibition floor where I spoke to representatives of each company about their products. Even though I was a student delegate, they treated me with respect and took the time to explain what each product was all about. (I needed a second suitcase to fit all the products I received from the venues.) I attended the President’s Dinner which was a lovely event with our President of the ADHA. I never thought I would be dancing right next to the President of the association. I attended the House of Delegate meetings. I observed how each topic was discussed and how laws and/or issues are passed or rejected. I found these meetings very impactful. If you are truly passionate about certain topics, this is where your voice is heard. It is not every day I am able to get an opportunity like this. I felt this experience was very inspiring. I see the value in my membership and what the association is doing to keep our profession growing. I plan to stay present and continue to support in any way that I can. In fact, I made a pact with a fellow classmate that we must attend the annual session every year. I am honored and extremely grateful for the opportunity. I cannot thank MDHA enough for what they did for me.”

MDHA’s “News Bites” – A NOTE FROM OUR MENTOR LIAISONS

Attending the ADHA’s 95th Annual Conference in Columbus Ohio as a student liaison with student delegates was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had since graduating from Dental Hygiene school. During the conference we were able to meet hygienists from all over the globe from Alaska to Saudi Arabia. Coming together with my district (District 1 aka District fun!) during the day to take CEUS and activities at night, such as the fun-run and after party.  All of this made me realize that I’m apart of an amazing tribe. Observing the district meetings and understanding how the organization comes together on important decisions that impact our profession was humbling and I hope to play a more active role at the 96th Annual Conference, which we are already planning to attend! Thank you to Lisa Laspina, Paula Morrison and the MDHA for this life changing experience!

Amanda Berthiaume, RDH, BS  (left)

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to represent MDHA as a Mentor Liaison this past June at ADHA’s Annual Session in Columbus, Ohio.  Upon my arrival, I was warmly greeted by other attendees and immediately felt welcome.  As I initially explored the exhibit hall, I was delighted to learn more about cutting-edge dental products and chatting with other dental hygienists.

I felt honored to witness the process of dental hygiene policy change firsthand at the House of Delegates meetings.  It was truly inspiring to be surrounded by so many passionate dental hygienists, both new and seasoned.  I felt empowered by the high level of knowledge, passion, dedication, and insight of the individuals in my profession.

I thoroughly enjoyed exploring a new city and creating memories with both familiar and new faces.  Attending Annual Session as a Mentor Liaison was an unforgettable experience, certainly one of the highlights of my dental hygiene career!  I look forward to attending another conference in the future and enhancing the dental hygiene profession.

Monica Kwan RDH (right)

A Message From Your President

Just Returning………from ADHA Annual Session

Delegates and alternate delegates from Massachusetts had the opportunity to represent all Massachusetts’ hygienists at the ADHA Annual Session in Columbus, Ohio in June. Paula Morrison, Kate Soal, Pam LaCerte, Jessica August, Holly Arcadipane, Vanessa Powers, and myself. Students, Julie Cady and Julia Lavigne, were selected to attend the event as well as the student mentor liaisons Monica Kwan and Amanda Berthiaume. All attended courses to enrich their professional growth. Many participated in the 5K fun/run event to raise money for ADHA IOH (despite the pouring rain – determination was the key!).   At the House of Delegates, District 1 put forward a proposed resolution on older adults which was not accepted. The proposed resolution will be revised and put forth next year.

Statement below provided by ADHA:

“The Annual Conference reflects the core issues of dental hygiene – seamlessly blending inspiration and practical application with an expert conference program boasting more leading oral healthcare minds focused on dental hygiene than anywhere else, along with hands-on workshops, awards and networking opportunities.”

We hope that you will be able to join MDHA next year at ADHA Annual Session in Kentucky!

Sincerely,

Lisa LaSpina RDH, MS

2018 Lobby Day a Huge Success

Greetings to all from the Massachusetts Dental Hygienists’ Association
Dental hygiene students attended from Cape Cod Community College, MCPHS University, Forsyth School of Dental Hygiene, Middlesex Community College, Mount Ida College, Mount Wachusett Community College, Quinsigamond Community College and Springfield Technical Community College.
Yes, I stand here before you as the president of MDHA. Just like you I am able to stand at the state house because of our professional association. I also stand before you as an educator in the profession of dental hygiene, clinician practicing for 32 years in the commonwealth, and lifelong resident of the commonwealth.
For the students graduating this year, remember that ADHA is your professional association that supports you and protects your profession.
I would like to recognize the people from MDHA who made this event possible, first the members of our legislative team, Katherine Pelullo, Carolyn Wehler, Jane Crocker and Holly Arcadipane
I would also like to thank our lobbyist, Charles Glick and his associates Kate Saville and Charlotte Boghossian , as they continue to help us advance our profession, this would not be happening without their help.
I would also like to thank Jeremy Crandall from the Pew Charitable Trust for all of their support!
Also a special thanks to Quinsigamond Community College for bringing their portable dental chairs to assist with the dental screenings, and students from Cape Cod Community College for providing the dental screenings. Thank you also to our District I Trustee Peter Gangi for being here.
No matter where we have traveled from ….We stand here together as one unity …with many voices.
Today marks a special day in the year for the profession of dental hygiene. This special day is reserved for you to have an opportunity to provide your voice for the profession and more importantly for the residents of the Commonwealth.
Your voice Counts for Residents who are seeking oral health care by a dental professional and for those seeking oral health care and are experiencing challenges accessing dental care. Dental hygienists and dental hygiene students are committed to providing quality oral health care to the residents of the Commonwealth and your presence here today reflect this.
We are truly appreciative of the opportunity for allowing us – all registered dental hygienists and dental hygiene students of MA to be here – to come to the state house to hear our voices in support of following the bills:
S.1238/H.1185 – Nitrous Oxide bill – This legislation would enable dental hygienists who have obtained a special permit and have undergone necessary training to administer nitrous oxide.
S.611/H.2221 – Medicaid Reimbursements and oral health access. Make oral health care accessible to ALL Residents of the Commonwealth.
S.1165/H.613 – Third party payer Bill – would allow public health dental hygienists to directly bill private insurance companies in addition to Mass Health.
S.1169/H.474 – Dental Therapist- This bill would recognize specially trained hygienists as midlevel dental practitioners to provide comprehensive and affordable oral healthcare to the residents of the Commonwealth.
We all see patient’s struggles with dental care or hear stories such as this story from a young girl (age 30) in severe tooth pain rushing to an emergency room only to be given a Rx because she has an abscess and a RX that she cannot afford to fill or a middle aged woman eats baby food or places her food in a blender so that she can eat because she does not have the funds to pay for dentures/bone grafts needed. Where did these people try to seek dental care?? These stories occurred in the city of Boston in the year 2018. In the city of Worcester 2018, a young boy age 26 lost his job and he asked the doctor to remove his braces only to be told that it would cost $600.00 to remove them. After two years, he still has his braces on his teeth embarrassed to ask for help. Unfortunately, we all have heard too many stories of people struggling to obtain oral health care even starting already in the year of 2018.
Let your voices be heard for the profession of dental hygiene and for the residents of the commonwealth so deserving of quality oral health care. ! Welcome Everyone to Lobby Day for Dental Hygiene! Thank you for your time and commitment in participating in this special day.
Lisa LaSpina, RDH, MS
MDHA President