FTC urges accreditation standards for dental therapy programs

U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) staff today submitted comments to the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), urging CODA to finalize and adopt accreditation standards for dental therapy education programs.

The staff comments submitted to Sherin Tooks, EdD, director of CODA, is in response to CODA's request for public comments on the 2014 version of its proposed accreditation standards, according to an FTC statement. In December 2013, the FTC staff commended CODA's then-proposed standards as an important first step in encouraging the development of a nationwide dental therapy profession, and they recommended revisions to portions of the standards that may have limited competition for dental services.

Now that many of those concerns have been addressed, the FTC staff comment urges CODA "to finalize and adopt proposed standards without unnecessary delay, so that the development of this emerging service model can proceed, and consumers can reap the likely benefits of increased competition."

The timely adoption of accreditation standards "has the potential to enhance competition by supporting state legislation for the licensure of dental therapists, and also to encourage the development of dental therapy education programs consistent with a nationwide standard, which would facilitate the mobility of dental therapists from state to state to meet consumer demand for dental services," the FTC staff wrote. "Any further delay in the adoption of accreditation standards could discourage and delay the development of education programs, reduce the availability of these new professionals, and hinder their ability to practice in different states."

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