Letters

Letters

Lawmakers’ bill tops dentists’ proposal in expanding access to care

The Massachusetts Dental Society deserves credit for acknowledging the persistent oral health access problem in Massachusetts (“Bay State dentists very much intent on reaching underserved patients,” Letters, Feb. 21). However, when compared with the proposal from state Senator Harriette Chandler and Representatives William “Smitty” Pignatelli and Kate Hogan, their proposal does not do enough.

While commendable, the dental society’s plan is insufficient to address the barriers facing many of our most vulnerable residents, including low-income children, seniors, veterans, and people with special needs. Legislation introduced by Chandler, Pignatelli, and Hogan draws on the success other states have had in reaching these vulnerable populations.

Advertisement

Similar to the association’s bill, the legislation we favor would create a new class of oral health providers, called dental therapists. But there are critical differences. First, the Chandler-Pignatelli-Hogan bill would allow dental therapists to deliver care in the community to people unable to travel easily to a dentist’s office, such as within schools or nursing homes. Second, dental therapists would be authorized to use teledentistry technology to maintain a close connection to the supervising dentist.

Third, this bill would ensure expanded access not just for people on MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program, but also the uninsured, seniors paying out of pocket, and others struggling to afford costly dental services. Finally, unlike the dental society’s legislation, the Chandler-Pignatelli-Hogan bill closely mirrors national accreditation standards for these providers.

Get Arguable with Jeff Jacoby in your inbox:
Our conservative columnist offers a weekly take on everything from politics to pet peeves.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Massachusetts needs dental therapists to make quality, affordable dental care accessible to everyone who needs it. Let’s make sure the solution is designed to do the most good for the most people.

Stephen Rosenfeld

Executive director

Health Care for All

Boston

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
You're reading  1 of 5 free articles.
Get UNLIMITED access for only 99¢ per week Subscribe Now >
You're reading1 of 5 free articles.Keep scrolling to see more articles recomended for you Subscribe now
We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com