ND midlevel provider bill fails

A bill to allow advanced practice dental hygienists has failed in North Dakota.

The state Senate bill, SB 2354, was sponsored by state Sen. Dick Dever (R-Bismarck), who said it would improve access to dental care. Supporters said the measure would alleviate a shortage of dentists that now affects 40% of North Dakota's counties and is expected to worsen as dentists retire

But Sen. Brad Bekkedah, DDS (R-Williston), warned lawmakers that the midlevel providers (MLPs) would be doing surgical procedures in which something could go wrong, according to kfyr-tv.com.

Several other states are considering similar measures. Currently, Minnesota and Alaska allow MLPs, and Maine approved a similar bill last year.

The ADA and most state dental associations have steadfastly opposed allowing MLPs to do restorations and extractions due to concerns about nondentists performing surgical/irreversible procedures.

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