Re “How to meet dental needs” (Opinion, Sept. 5): We were shocked at the tenor of Alex Beam’s column. While it outlines the real oral health access issues in Massachusetts, it implies that dentists, as represented by the Massachusetts Dental Society, are uninterested in resolving them. We reject that assessment. Lack of access to dental care is a critical problem in Massachusetts. Resolving this problem will not be simple, and it requires input from multiple stakeholders.
Our bill and the bill backed by the Massachusetts Dental Society both create a licensed mid-level oral health provider to work under the supervision of a dentist to provide preventive and routine care. The bills have a common focus: How can we best provide dental care to those without access? The devil will always be in the details.
We are engaged in discussions with the dental society to identify the key aspects of each bill. Our goal is a compromise that will most effectively increase access to dental care. We will continue our discussions; there will be agreement and disagreement. Of greatest importance is that we are at the table, operating in good faith and with mutual respect, to resolve a complex issue that requires the breadth of knowledge and perspective each party has to offer.
Hogan is House chair of the Joint Committee on Public Health. Pignatelli is House chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture.