Dental Therapist Study Postponed

Feb 9, 2024
On Tuesday, Feb. 6, the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee temporarily postponed CS/HB 683 by Rep. Daniel Perez (R-Miami). (VIDEO)

Before postponing the vote on CS/HB 683, two amendments were adopted to the bill. The first amendment allocated $250,000 for the Department of Health (DOH) to conduct a study on the affordability, access and delivery of dental care, as well as examine policy and workforce models such as dental therapists. The second amendment adopted to the bill added language to “examine and evaluate the number of qualified dentists who might be considered for support through a state dental loan repayment program.” The FDA does not support investing limited state resources into a study on dental care — a study is unnecessary. Furthermore, the FDA supports investing state funds into programs and services that would provide direct dental care to those in need. Below is a video highlighting some of the testimony and debate on the bill. You can view the full committee meeting on the dental therapist study on the Florida Channel here. (Presentation of the bill starts at 7:50 in the video.)

CS/HB 683 will remain temporarily postponed in the committee unless the bill is brought back during the next House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee meeting, which is scheduled for next Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 9:30 a.m. The Senate companion, SB 1498 by Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg), has not been heard yet in committee. However, on Wednesday, Feb. 7, Sen. Brandes filed an amendment to the Senate budget (SB 2500) to include proviso language to direct the Office of Program and Policy Analysis & Government Accountability (OPPAGA), instead of the DOH, to conduct a study exactly as outlined in CS/HB 683.

So, what does all this mean? This means that no legislation to authorize dental therapists in Florida passed out of any House or Senate committees this session and cannot become law this year. The FDA will continue its efforts to educate legislators on programs and initiatives outlined through Florida’s Action for Dental Health.

Capital Report, Vol. 25, No. 5 - Feb. 9, 2018