Dental Therapist Bill Changed to a Study

Feb 9, 2024
On Monday, Jan. 29, the House Health Quality Subcommittee approved an amendment to HB 683 that removed the original language of the bill and replaced it with language to study the “affordability, access and delivery of dental care.” (VIDEO)

Florida Dental Association (FDA) members answered the call and contacted members on the House Health Quality Subcommittee with opposition to the original language filed to HB 683 by Rep. Daniel Perez (R-Miami), that would have allowed an individual right out of high school with three-years of dental therapy training perform major irreversible procedures like extractions.

The FDA had several representatives, which included FDA President-elect Dr. Jolene Paramore, FDA Immediate Past President Dr. Bill D’Aiuto, FDA Board of Trustee Alternate Dr. Suzanne Ebert, Drs. Susan Byrne, Alan Dransfield, Chinara Garraway and Bert Hughes, and registered dental hygienist Janet Keeney, speak and waive their time in opposition to the creation of dental therapists, as well as the new language to establish a study, because it is unnecessary. The FDA presented the committee with initiatives and proposals outlined in Florida’s Action for Dental Health and stated that implementing the dental student loan repayment program legislation would be a better investment of state funds instead of commissioning a study.

Below is a video highlighting some of the testimony and debate on the bill. You can view the full committee meeting on dental therapists on the Florida Channel here. (Presentation of the bill starts at 34:15 in the video).

The new language states:

Section 1. Study on affordability, access, and delivery of dental care.

(1) The Department of Health shall conduct a comprehensive study on the state of affordability, access, and delivery of dental care in the state.

(2) The study must:      

(a) Examine utilization data and delivery system gaps including demographic and income disparities.       

(b) Develop and evaluate policy proposals to address barriers to care, expedience of care delivery, and oral health outcomes for high-need and high-risk populations. Policy proposals examined must be peer-reviewed and address evidence of clinical outcomes, measures for increasing access, and dental care for unserved and underserved populations.       

(c) Examine workforce policies authorizing or increasing mid-level dental providers such as expanded function dental assistants, community dental health coordinators, and dental therapists.       

(d) The department shall submit a report on the findings of the study and make recommendations on improving the affordability, access, and delivery of dental care to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by Dec. 31, 2018. The report must also address any implementation burdens and the sustainability of each policy recommendation.

Section 2. This section expires on Jan. 31, 2019.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Chief Legislative Officer Joe Anne Hart at or 850.224.1089.

Capital Report, Vol. 25, No. 4 - Feb. 2, 2018