Dear IDHA Members, RDH Potential IDHA Members, Student DH, and HB5948 Supporters,
IDHA was successful in passing HB5948 and Amendments last Friday in the Senate 53 yes and NO opposition. On Tuesday, May 31st, HB5948 the House of Representatives passed it, 117 yes to -0- opposition! We are VERY excited this trailer bill to HB500 PASSED to improve and enhance the details and reduce the additional educational requirements for the Public Health Dental Hygienist (PHDH) category in IL and to clarify and tighten the language for dental assistants providing supragingival scaling. This will become law once it is signed by the Governor. The most significant aspect of HB500 and HB5948 is allowing the PHDH to see patients, who are Medicaid eligible or uninsured and do not exceed 200% of the federal poverty guidelines, WITHOUT FIRST HAVING A PRIOR EXAM BY A DENTIST. The PHDH requirements include having a collaborative written agreement with a dentist who is registered as a Medicaid provider or is engaged, contracted or employed in a public health facility or those other settings as described in the HB500. The passing of HB5948 on Tuesday literally came down to only a few hours being left for it to pass while the House was still in sessioin on its last scheduled day, or we would have needed to begin the process all over again. Our bill sponsor, Representative Michael Zalewski was very instrumental in facilitating the negotiation process with Senator Haine and the Illinois State Dental Society, and closely following the bill through the legislative process. We also greatly appreciate our two lobbyists, Jan Starr and John Cusick, who worked side-by-side with us every step along the way. We appreciate the efforts of our lobbyists who represent our concerns to the many legislators around the state, and continue to monitor all legislation that may impact or affect the profession of dental hygiene. Their role is an extremely important one to IDHA year round even when not lobbying a bill on our behalf.
This initiative took much time, effort, and the help of many RDH and friends of HB5948 to get it passed. It is the culmination of many years of effort. So, as we celebrate this HUGE legislative success, we need each of you to take the time to call your legislators in both the House and in the Senate and say, THANK YOU for VOTING YES AND PASSING HB5948!!! Without their vote of ‘yes’ the direct access to services provided by a PHDH would not be possible.
Please call you legislators in the House and in the Senate. This 5 year pilot (created by HB500) will help demonstrate to law makers that Registered Dental Hygienists are a major part of the solution to increasing the direct access to oral health care services in Illinois! We know many of you have questions as to how you can get out there and begin putting this new law into practice. Please watch our website over the next few weeks as we begin posting information. In the meantime, please go to www.il.gov and thoroughly read HB500 and HB5948 for the specifics and the requirements needed for a RDH to be called a Public Health Dental Hygienist (PHDH), to find out all of the settings in which a PHDH may practice, and watch the website for educaational courses as we see them become available.
Again, IDHA sincerely appreciates every phone call made, e-mail sent, and legislator visited to help make the passage of HB5948 be a success! Please call your legislators at your earliest availability to say thank you.
Kimberly K. Benkert, RDH, BSDH, MPH, COM, FAADH
IDHA Legislation Chair
IDHA Past President
ADHA Past President