The LDA filed two bills during the 2022 Legislative Session:
SB 324 Eliminating the Requirement of Human Subjects for Dental Licensure Exams, Allows for Manikin Exams by Senator Gary Carter - This bill would remove the requirement for the examination to include procedures performed on human subjects. Since the pandemic, through an emergency order of the Governor’s office, the LA State Board of Dentistry (LSBD) has allowed testing on a manikin vs. a human subject. However, it was only allowable because of COVID-19, and the emergency order has now expired. There’s good data that testing on a manikin has proven to produce accurate and fair results, and the rate of passage is nearly identical to testing on human subjects. Now that the emergency order is over, to continue testing on a manikin would require a legislative change. Signed by the Governor. Becomes Act. No. 312. Effective date, August 1, 2022.
SB 349 to Provide Clarity When Filling a Vacancy on the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry by Senator Gary Carter - The Louisiana State Board of Dentistry (LSBD) board members can serve up to two, five-year terms. According to the Governor’s Office of Boards and Commissions, if an LSBD board member leaves their term mid-year, there is some confusion about the completion of the next person’s term. This bill is very simple and would allow the newly elected board member to finish that calendar year, then start their first five-year term if the previous LSBD board member chooses to leave midyear. This change would make the term limits more in uniformity with the Office of Boards and Commissions. If signed by the Governor, this bill would go into effect on August 1, 2022.
Other LDA Priorities:
The LDA spearheaded efforts with the LSU Health New Orleans School of Dentistry for $520,000 to create an extension of the dental hygiene education program. In response to the shortages and need for access-to-care, LSU Health New Orleans School of Dentistry and LSU-Alexandria are planning an extension of the LSU program in dental hygiene at LSU-A. The program will be housed at LSU-Alexandria’s Allied Health Building in downtown and will be operated by LSU Health New Orleans School of Dentistry. With this program, LSU Health New Orleans School of Dentistry can educate an additional six hygienists per year in the Central Louisiana location. LSU-Alexandria received a grant from a local health partner to prepare the facility to house the clinic (e.g. water access, compressed air, etc.). Startup equipment is needed, such as chairs, lights, sanitization equipment, and tools to complete the facility, as well as a faculty member to teach.
Additionally, the LDA lobbying team, in conjunction with contact dentists, was successful in our request for $2 million for equipment replacement at LSU Health New Orleans School of Dentistry public clinics. Many of the dental chairs and associated features are inadequate for patient care as they are 20 years old and past their life expectancy.
Unfortunately, our request of $90,000 for Donated Dental Services Program (Dental Lifeline Network) was not successful. Since the massive cuts to the state budget during the Jindal administration, many of the non-governmental organization (NGO) requests have not been successful. It was at that time that DDS was cut from the LA Department of Health budget, and legislators are leery to add NGO requests back into the operating budget.