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Message from the Council on Governmental Affairs Chair Dr. William Hurtt

Apr 29, 2024

I am pleased to represent the Seventh District on the Council on Governmental Affairs. This council is tasked with interacting with New York State legislators on issues that affect the practice and scope of dentistry. Much of the work is accomplished throughout the year by the NYSDA staff and our lobbyists at Brown and Weinraub with much of the legislative effort occurring after the budget process is complete. 

Having returned from Advocacy Day in Albany this past March, where I met with some of the legislators who represent areas in the Seventh District, the following were the primary talking points reviewed with them. First is the dental loss ratio of insurance companies where NYSDA is asking that at least 82% of premium dollars collected by insurance companies be spent on clinical care. This would shift the focus on providing quality care rather than maximizing insurance company profits. 

The second is legislation eliminating the ability of insurance companies to dictate reimbursements to providers for services that they do not cover.  This would allow dentists to make treatment decisions based on the best interests of their patients rather than insurance contract stipulations.

Third is to expand the defined scope of practice for dental hygienists to provide block local anesthesia and to allow dentists to expand treatments beyond the oral cavity to include Botox injections for TMD disorders and other facial trauma services which are currently prohibited in the New York State Dental Practice Act. 

My focus has been to promote these topics as well as to personally find ways to address our workforce shortages. As many have expressed to me it has been a challenge to find and retain dental hygienists and assistants. Much of what is currently being promoted is focused on generating interest in the field of dentistry and reclassifying the practice of hygiene to be more independent of supervision, to drive increased access to care in underserved areas.  These appear to be easy legislative victories but in my opinion are a waste of tax dollars and do not address the fundamental need which is increasing the number of RDH’s available to practice. This is a much more challenging task but one that will reap significant future benefits for all New Yorkers.

I am always open to thoughts and concerns about our profession and how we can better serve our patients.  Please know that I am available via email, phone, or text to discuss.