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Maine therapist bill signed in April

April 30, 2014

By Craig Palmer, ADA News staff

Augusta, Me.—Gov. Paul LePage signed legislation April 28 to create a license for mid-level dental hygiene therapists and vetoed bills to establish a separate dental hygiene board and restructure the dental board.

“First and foremost, the Maine Dental Association will continue to work with policymakers and other stakeholders to improve access to oral health care,” Dr. Demi Kouzounas, MDA president, said in a news release. “While we’re disappointed the Legislature has chosen to establish the dental hygiene therapist ([bill number] LD 1230), we can’t permit that to stand in the way of the overall mission of bringing real solutions to those who are in need today.”

The amended bill passed by the Legislature and signed into law creates a new type of dental provider to perform surgical procedures, a dental hygiene therapist who may practice only while under the direct supervision of a dentist licensed to practice in Maine. With enactment, the Board of Dental Examiners is directed to adopt rules by Jan. 1, 2015, setting requirements for dental hygiene therapy education programs.