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Legislation

Spring 2022 Legislative Session Ends. Read More About How New Laws Affect Dentistry.

We want to thank our members for their continued support throughout this legislative session. Your continued response to our action alerts supports our actions at the State Capital in Springfield and makes our legislative success possible.

This year the legislature had a shorter time frame for its annual legislative session due to the election cycle change. The session ran from January until the beginning of April. Throughout this legislative session, ISDS has issued several action alerts and legislative updates and provided video updates via social media to our members. This article outlines our actions and various legislative measures that passed throughout the session.

We want to thank our members for their continued support throughout this legislative session. Your continued response to our action alerts supports our actions at the State Capital in Springfield and makes our legislative success possible.

ISDS Initiatives
ISDS had four primary legislative goals during this past legislative session. With the shortened session calendar, not much legislation was expected to pass. Thank you for the efforts of our members and our legislative team. We were able to pass three major initiatives. Thank you for all that you do!

Cranial Facial Anomaly Insurance Coverage (HB 4349-Willis/Fine): This bill requires health insurance to cover services for children with cranial facial anomalies and has passed both the House and Senate. The bill will now go to the Governor for his signature. ISDS will be advocating in support of HB 4349 (Willis/Fine) to the Governor to sign into law this critical piece of legislation. Once the Governor signs, the legislation will become effective on January 1, 2024.

Increased Medicaid Rates (HB 4343-Harris, G./Gillespie): ISDS successfully advocated for increased Medicaid rates as part of the overall Medicaid budget bill. The legislature passed a rate increase of $10 million for the dental Medicaid program. The rate increase applies to dental services provided to adults and children covered under the Medicaid program. ISDS will be working with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services to target this rate increase to the most critical services. The Governor has signed this bill. Therefore, the rate increase will begin on January 1, 2023.

Workforce Bill (HB 4501-Stuart/Jones III): ISDS has heard from many members about the growing workforce shortage over the last several months. The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded an already growing workforce shortage. To address this issue, ISDS introduced legislation that would expand the existing ability of dental assistants to perform limited coronal scaling. Throughout the session, ISDS worked to address the concerns of the bill’s sponsors. The bill, as passed by the House and Senate, accomplishes two significant items:

•   Addresses the growing workforce shortage: expands existing provisions on dental assistants so that they may perform coronal scaling above the gum line on children and adolescents up to the age of 17 (currently the age of 12) and who qualify for one of the following provisions: on Medicaid, uninsured, or whose family household income is not higher than 300% of the federal poverty level (currently 200%). The legislation also increases the training hours from 16 hours to 32 hours needed for dental assistants to be able to provide this limited service.          

•   Increases access to nursing home residents: The legislation allows a licensed dentist to use teledentistry to examine a patient in a long-term care (LTC) facility.  This would allow a dental hygienist to provide limited dental care to a patient in the LTC facility that a licensed dentist has examined within the last 45 days.  Additionally, the legislation will allow Public Health Dental Hygienists to work in a nursing home as long as they have a collaborative agreement with a dentist.

The legislation passed both the House and Senate. The legislation will now go to the Governor for his signature. ISDS will be advocating in support of HB 4501 (Stuart/Jones) to the Governor to sign into law this critical piece of legislation. Once signed into law, the legislation would be effective on January 1, 2023.

Anesthesia Safety, CRNAs (HB 4574-Hernandez, L./SB 3214-Bennet, S.): This legislation would require a licensed dentist to hold an appropriate anesthesia permit to perform dentistry while a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) administers conscious sedation, deep sedation, or general anesthesia and enter into a written collaborative agreement. This legislation would have protected the patient to ensure that all parties are properly trained when anesthesia is being administered, and their duties are spelled out in a written agreement. This legislation had significant opposition, so the legislative leadership did not allow the bill to move forward during this shortened session.

Dental Hygiene Legislative Measures
The two legislative measures below were introduced and supported by the Illinois Dental Hygienists’ Association. ISDS’ concerns with both pieces of legislation are outlined below.

Dental Hygienists and Teledentistry (SB 3190-Hunter): This legislation would have added “dental hygiene” to the definition of teledentistry in the Dental Practice Act. ISDS opposed this legislation because dental hygiene is a part of the prevention aspect of dentistry and is not a separate treatment option or stand-alone service. This legislation did not move during the legislative session.

Public Health Dental Hygienist and Long-Term Care Facilities (SB 3122-Bush): This legislation would have allowed a Public Health Dental Hygienist to provide services in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. ISDS opposed this legislation because of patient safety concerns. This bill, on its own, did not move. However, it was incorporated into our workforce bill as part of our compromise because our bill sponsor had a strong desire to address dental care in nursing homes.

Other Legislative Measures
In addition to our legislative initiatives, we monitor several other pieces of legislation. We outlined some of the legislative measures below.

Anesthesiologist License Protection (SB 3491-Crowe): This legislation would have required a person who does not possess a valid medical doctor or osteopathic doctor license and uses the title of anesthesiologist or dermatologist is in violation of the Medical Practice Act. The ISDS had concerns about this legislation because it might impact those individuals who possess a dental anesthesiologist specialty license. The bill sponsor committed to working with ISDS to address our concerns. SB 3491 did not move this legislative session.

Culture Competency Training (HB 4654-Avelar): This legislation would have required continuing education in cultural competency training for healthcare professionals. This would have included dentists and dental hygienists. This legislation did not pass this legislative session.

Equity in Healthcare Repayment Program (HB 4645-Greenwood/Hunter): If funding is made available in the budget, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) will be required to develop an Equity and Representation in Health Care Workforce Repayment Program. Under the legislation, dentists would be included in this legislation. The purpose of the repayment program is to encourage health care providers to locate and practice in areas of greatest need, as determined by provider shortage area data or health disparity data, and to support efforts for health care providers to reflect better the communities they serve. HB 4645 has passed the House and Senate and now goes to the Governor for his signature.

Licensing Application Timeline (SB 3002-Glowiak Hilton): SB 3002 would have required the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) to process an application for a license within four weeks after receiving a complete application, provided that the application does not contain any deficiencies. SB 3002 did not move this legislation session. 

Optometrist and COVID-19 Vaccines (HB 4929-Mah/Murphy): This legislation allows the optometrist to administer COVID-19 vaccines to patients that are 17 years of age and older. The legislation outlines additional training that an optometrist must complete to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. HB 4929 (Mah/Murphy) passed both the House and the Senate and now will go to the Governor for his signature.

Podiatrist Administer Vaccines (SB 2317-Feigenholtz): SB 2317 would have allowed a podiatric physician to administer vaccinations, including but not limited to COVID-19 and influenza. The legislation did not move this legislative session.

Task Force on Internationally Licensed Health Care Professionals (HB 5465-Mah/Aquino): IDFPR will be required to establish a task force that examines the barriers to licensure and practice for internationally-licensed health care professionals. The legislation outlines the individuals that will make up the task force. The task force will submit its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly. HB 5465 (Mah/Aquino) has passed both the House and Senate and will now go to the Governor for his signature.

For questions, contact Lindsay Wagahoff at lwagahoff@isds.org

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