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ICYMI: Dental Therapist Sunrise Application Fails in Arizona

Andy Larkin, ASDOH ’19

From the AzDA:

On Friday, December 16th, the Health Committee of Reference reviewed the Sunrise Application recently filed by the Pew Foundation to formally create dental therapists as providers in the state of Arizona. The final vote on the issue was a spirited 8-1 tally opposing the creation of such providers. The lone vote in favor came from Senator Nancy Barto, who happens to serve as Chair of the Senate Health Committee.

The hearing took two and a half hours and included testimony from many people, including a dentist member of the House of Representatives, Dr. Regina Cobb, AzDA President Dr. Brian Powley, AzDA President-elect Dr. Rob Roda, and Dr. Anthony Hilleren, a Minnesota dentist who traveled to the state to testify on behalf of his negative experience with dental therapists.

From this point, the application receives a negative recommendation from the Health Committee of Reference. This will be shared with the Senate President and the Speaker of the House. However, just having a negative recommendation from the committee does not make the application “dead in the water”; a bill still may be introduced if any legislator would like to bring it forth once the new session starts after the New Year. This will still be hot topic when legislation goes into session, and will be followed until a definitive decision is made regarding the application.

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