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      • - 1/9/2014

Dental Therapist Sunrise Application Fails!


After a two and one half hour hearing before the Health Committee of Reference, the sunrise application filed by the Pew Foundation seeking to create dental therapists in Arizona failed to receive an affirmative vote.

The final vote was only one vote in favor (Senator Nancy Barto, the Chair of the Senate Health Committee), and eight votes against.

The debate was, to say the least, spirited. Having our dentist member of the House of Representatives, Dr. Regina Cobb, on the panel, was exceedingly helpful to get the right questions asked.

Many thanks to our leadership, including AzDA President, Dr. Brian Powley and incoming President-elect, Dr. Rob Roda (who both testified), our Council on Government Affairs, and our superb lobbying and PR team headed by John MacDonald, for all their hard work on this critical issue.

We also want to thank our members for their strong support, including those who have given generously to AzDENPAC.
We would especially like to thank Dr. Anthony Hilleren, a Minnesota dentist, and his wife Nancy, who traveled on his own dime to testify in the hearing against the dental therapist sunrise application. His testimony was based on his negative experience with a dental therapist in his own practice.

The vote on the sunrise application results in a negative recommendation to the Senate President and the Speaker of the House.

The negative vote does not preclude a legislator from bringing a bill forth, and we do believe that introduction of a bill may still happen, so our work may not yet be over.

We live to fight another day!