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Kansas Advocates Of Mid-Level Dental Providers Cheered By Accreditation Decision

Anton Petukhov, flickr Creative Commons

The agency responsible for accrediting all dental education programs has decided to accredit so-called mid-level dental providers. As Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson explains, the decision has implications for the ongoing effort to license those providers in Kansas.

The Commission on Dental Accreditation says without national accreditation standards for dental therapists, the requirements would vary from state to state. The United Methodist Health Ministry Fund has been funding efforts to make this level of care available in Kansas. CEO Kim Moore says the decision undercuts the arguments of the Kansas Dental Association that this would be substandard care.  

“This is a legitimate profession. They can operate safely when properly educated, and there are going to be national standards that can be used by Kansas to assure itself that we do the proper education," he says.

But Kevin Robertson, who heads the Kansas Dental Association, says that doesn’t mean Kansas should license non-dentists to do procedures that are now legal for dentists only.

“Every state makes their own decision with regard to what dentists and allied dental professionals can do within their state," Robertson says. "So, it really doesn’t have any validity with regard to suddenly Kansas should accept this position.”

The two sides are expected to battle it out again in the 2016 legislative session.