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Last Tuesday, legislators on the House Health Care & Wellness Committee heard voices from across the state speak to a proven solution to the crisis in dental care:
“Alone, terrified, and in excruciating pain, my brother passed away. He was only 23 years old.” Jaydra Cope, (Spokane), whose brother Dalton died in 2006 due to complications of a dental abscess.
“I will hire mid-level dental providers to cover the hours that dentists don’t want to work…. I’m asking for your help as legislators and leaders to get more Washingtonians access to the care they need.” Dr. Alex Narváez DDS, Dental Director for SeaMar Community Health Centers
“Mid level dental providers would be able to do the dental procedures that are most needed right now. We have the knowledge and expertise to do this. Washington can be a leader.” Dr. Lyle McClellan, DDS, Spokane
Those who spoke were united in their support for House Bill 1516, the dental access bill that brings a mid-level dental provider to our state: a licensed dental practitioner who can free dentists to extend care to underserved communities.
People from all over Washington have found that oral health care is out of reach. Members of the Washington Dental Access Campaign are speaking up to support a solution to the problem that backed by dozens of studies and 90 years of history: one that frees dentists to provide more complex care, that is responsive to the needs of Washington’s diverse communities and that stands up for health equity among all our families.
The workforce solution proposed by the Washington Dental Access Campaign can provide access to high-quality care at a lower cost. This makes it easier and more affordable for children and families to get the timely, high-quality care they need.
Those who are speaking up in support of HB 1516 know that community-based mid-level providers are experts at the everyday treatment that keeps dental problems from turning into dental emergencies. Let’s take a significant step toward achieving a healthy future for kids and communities – let’s bring this workforce solution here.
Here’s how to do it: If you or someone you know has struggled with out-of-reach dental care, go to www.wadentalaccess.com and tell us more. Then, call your lawmakers at 1-800-562-6000 and ask them to support House Bill 1516 and Senate Bill 5433.