Kan. lawmakers delay midlevel provider bills

Bills that would pave the way for midlevel dental providers (MLPs) in Kansas have stalled in the Legislature despite advocates' claims that they would provide much-needed care to underserved populations.

SB197 and HB2157 have languished in committees since being introduced at the beginning of the year, according to a story in the Capitol Journal.

The bills would allow the creation of licensed dental hygienists, who have passed clinical exams, practiced for 500 hours under the direct supervision of a dentist, and have liability insurance. The MLPs could perform about 30 basic dental procedures, including nonsurgical extraction of diseased permanent teeth that are loose.

Supporters of the legislation say that shortage of dental care, especially in rural counties, has worsened since the state switched to KanCare this year. Under KanCare, three managed care organizations took administrative control of most of the state's Medicaid services. All three offer basic dental care to adults that wasn't previously part of Medicaid.

But the Kansas Dental Project found that 28,000 KanCare patients live in 37 counties that have no dentists in the managed care companies' networks.

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