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    • January
      • - 1/23/2014
      • - 1/9/2014

Another dental therapy crisis averted!


As you all know, in December the Arizona Dental Association successfully thwarted the sunrise application filed by the Pew Foundation that would have created dental therapists in Arizona. That was just the first battle!

Now, the Pew Foundation is trying to subvert the sunrise process.

Earlier this week, we learned that the Flagstaff Representative in the Arizona House, Bob Thorpe, intended to file a “striker amendment” to an existing Senate Bill 1076 that would put in language to create dental therapists in Arizona. The plan was to hold an informational hearing before the House Government Committee today.

On Oral Health Day, Rep. Thorpe categorically told Drs. Jessica Robertson, Bryan Shanahan, and Jason Dittberner that he was opposed to having lesser trained individuals being licensed to drill, fill, and pull teeth. It looked as though he had a change of mind, or at least the Pew Foundation's lobbyists convinced him to change it.

We prepared to make our case before the Committee, and CGA member Dr. Jessica Robertson made the sacrifice of canceling her patients for Thursday and was prepared to come down and testify. We worked other angles to get to the Chair of the Government Committee, Rep. Doug Coleman, and he was convinced to cancel the Committee meeting thus pulling the rug out from Pew's plan.

Kudos to our Flagstaff dental colleagues, many of whom contacted Rep. Thorpe to express their displeasure!

It looks like Rep. Thorpe has heard the message, and in fact shared with one member that he had argued in the Republican Caucus in support of restoring the AHCCCS adult dental benefit in the state budget.

Ultimately, good news all around.