Washington State RDH Legal Defense Fund
Washington State Dental Hygienists' Legal Defense Fund
Great news! HB 1330, our topical anesthetic/home-bound patient bill, passed the Senate unanimously on April 16, 2013.
It has been signed by Governor Inslee and will take effect on July 28th, 2013.
"The Washington State Dental Hygienists' Association and the Alliance of Dental Hygiene Practitioners supports and endorses the efforts of our members who are practicing collaboratively within the Dental Hygiene Scope of Practice "”providing direct care to patients"”to pursue legal means to protect their right to practice".
Washington State has been one of the most progressive states when it comes to dental hygiene practice. In 1971 we became the first state to allow hygienists to administer local anesthetic for the comfort of our patients. Over the years Washington's dental hygienists have made great strides in improving access to care and providing safe, cost effective dental hygiene services. Unfortunately the state's Department of Health threatens to derail all our efforts with recent actions, and we are asking for your help! It is our turn to say NO.
For the past two years the Department has investigated a number of dental hygienists who work in non-traditional settings, own their dental hygiene "businesses" or contract with various entities in order to provide services directly to patients. Some of the patients that these hygienists serve are not able to afford dental care because of loss of a job and/or loss of dental insurance. The current traditional system does not allow any flexibility for people who simply want choices about who cleans their teeth. Some patients cannot continue to see their dentist due to physical disabilities, medical conditions or mobility issues, and are better served by hygienists who can come into their homes or care facilities.
NONE of the complaints that have been filed with the Department have been from patients!!! NO fraud or harm to patients has ever been documented.
Nonetheless, for unknown reasons, the Department has decided to make interpretations of long-standing statutes and regulations that conflict with the standards of practice adhered to by Washington's hygienists for over 25 years! **
Hygienists are being accused of practicing dentistry because they own their businesses or perform screenings for oral cancer and other oral conditions. The result of these interpretations has been costly legal expenses and an emotional roller coaster for the hygienists who are being investigated.
If these interpretations by the Department are allowed to stand it means taking a huge step backwards for hygienists and an immense disservice to the public we serve! There is an impact to all of us: Washington's hygienists would be required to practice working only as employees of a supervising dentist and providing clinical care exclusively for patients who can afford to receive that care in an office owned by a dentist!
This is wrong! It is not consistent with other independent legal interpretations of the practice act. The only way to confront the Department's misguided tactics is through the court system. Individual hygienists should not, and cannot, bear the potentially huge legal costs all on their own. This impacts ALL of our futures because we are all in it together. That is why we are asking for your financial support. Now!
The target number is a BIG one: $150,000 at least to take this all the way to the State Supreme Court should that become necessary. We know many people are struggling financially, but the cost of not doing anything will be much higher! Let these fellow hygienists know you are committed to their efforts on our behalf. We all have a stake in how this turns out, so please give generously. Every dollar helps!
- Please see all of our important postings on our webpage!
For those of you who do not have a PayPal account or would rather mail a check you can send it to:
RDH Defense FUND
PO Box 593
Allyn, WA 98524
Also here are Helpful & Informational links:
The Alliance of Dental Hygiene Practitioners Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Alliance-of-Dental-Hygiene-Practitioners/322842861136092
Follow us on Twitter @RDHFUND
Write your legislator! Find your legislators: Online at http://www.leg.wa.gov/pages/home.aspx
The legislative hotline is 1-800-562-6000.
Why the ADA is wrong about access to Dental Care: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/health-science-technology/dollars-and-dentists/dr-frank-catalanotto-why-the-ada-is-wrong-about-access-to-dental-care/
How much is the ADA spending on PAC's?: http://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/lookup2.php?strID=C00000729
Scope of Practice Issues:
For the .pdf to write your legislators go to www.wsdha.com or email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Canadian Dental Hygienists are considered primary health care providers! See Article
***************Visit Hygienetown to see article and comments for the Topic Forum: Should we be considering independent practice for dental hygienists?
Even though it is all a matter of public record, I have removed specific names.
One of the hygienists, the case was completely dismissed!
The other we are still awaiting the results of the hearing.
Your continued support is still vital and appreciated as there are more charges being filed against non-traditional dental hygienists.
-- Gather your list of email addresses of all your friends and acquaintances and send them the GoFundMe link! Cut and paste the link below into your email -- http://www.gofundme.com/RDHFund.
We all need to do our part, no matter how small to get the word out to our friends, family and colleagues that the future of our profession is at stake.
Again, thank you for all your support!!!
RDH Defense FUND
PO Box 593
Allyn, WA 98524