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Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act passes House

Bill would simplify the licensing process for dentists who are military spouses

October 08, 2021

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — The Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act passed the House on Sept. 23 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.

If enacted, the bill would give military spouses with valid professional licenses in one state reciprocity in the state where their spouse is currently serving on military orders. The legislation now moves to the Senate.

In a May 26 letter to Reps. Mike Garcia, R-Calif., and Salud Carbajal, D-Calif., ADA President Daniel J. Klemmedson, D.D.S., M.D., and Executive Director Kathleen T. O’Loughlin, D.M.D., thanked the lawmakers for introducing the bill.

“Family member transition support and job security is a military readiness concern,” wrote Drs. Klemmedson and O’Loughlin. “Eliminating this cumbersome hurdle for spouses lessens the stress of relocating. This peace of mind will better prepare our service members to protect the nation. Furthermore, simplifying the spouse’s process for securing professional employment presents the opportunity for better economic stability for our military families.”

The letter also noted that it’s not uncommon for civilian dentists to be the spouses of service members.

“The ADA routinely supports these spouses through the onerous licensure process upon transfer of duty stations,” Drs. Klemmedson and O’Loughlin wrote. “By simply having a license in good standing according to the requirements in the jurisdiction that issued the license; and by complying with the new state’s standards of practice, discipline and fulfillment of any continuing education requirements, a military spouse could receive professional license reciprocity and easily resume the practice of dentistry. As such, the bill would enhance the dental workforce in military communities, which are often health professional shortage areas.”

In addition to military spouses, the bill would also ensure the portability of professional licensure or certification to the relocating service member.

The ADA is also advocating for the Senate to pass the Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act and sent an Oct. 5 letter to the Senate Committee on Armed Services.

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