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ADA supports rule allowing VA health care providers to practice in any state

December 09, 2020

By Jennifer Garvin

The ADA is supporting an interim final rule that will continue allowing Veteran Affairs health care professionals to deliver health care services in a state other than the one they are licensed, registered or certified to practice in.

In a Dec. 4 letter to the VA, ADA President Daniel J. Klemmedson, D.D.S., M.D. and Executive Director Kathleen T. O’Loughlin, D.M.D., told the agency that allowing dentists to practice within the scope and requirements of their VA employment, “notwithstanding any state license or other requirements that unduly interfere with their practice, enhances veterans’ access to critical dental services.” They also said that the practice outlined in the Authority of VA Professionals to Practice Health Care interim final rule is “consistent” with the ADA’s comprehensive policy on licensure, which states that “provisions for freedom of movement across state lines for all dental professionals should exist to facilitate the provision of quality oral health care to the public.”

In the letter, Drs. Klemmedson and O’Loughlin said the VA must maintain the ability to determine the location and practice of its health care professionals, including its 1,050 dentists, to carry out the agency’s mission without any burdensome state restrictions and noted the interim final rule gives the agency the flexibility to mobilize and hire qualified health care professionals from any state and quickly place them in areas of need.

“Responding to and reaching beyond the coronavirus pandemic, the VA’s ‘Fourth Mission’ is to improve the nation’s preparedness for response to war, terrorism, national emergencies and natural disasters by developing plans and taking actions to ensure continued service to veterans, as well as support national, state, and local emergency management, public health, safety and homeland security efforts,” the letter concluded. “The ADA fully endorses this 'Fourth Mission' and supports dentists moving across state borders to meet VA mission requirements and provide essential oral health services to veterans.”

Follow all of the ADA's advocacy efforts at ADA.org/Advocacy.