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Dental Hygienists and Dental Hygiene Therapists in Maine

In 2016, Maine enacted a new Dental Practice Act establishing the scope of practice for dental hygienists and dental therapists. The law outlines education and training requirements, prescriptive authorities, and supervision requirements for these and other oral health professions. Maine’s Board of Dental Practice is a state regulatory agency established to protect the public through … Continued

Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants Provision of Medication-Assisted Treatment

A provision of the federal Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S. Code § 823(g)(2)) allows qualified physicians to request a waiver for prescribing and dispensing buprenorphine, one of three FDA-approved medication-assisted treatments (MAT). MAT combines counseling and behavior therapy with medication to provide safer, comprehensive treatment of opioid use disorders. More than 35,000 physicians have received … Continued

Physician Assistants and Collaboration

Earlier this year, New Mexico amended its Medical Practice Act to allow collaborative practice relationships between physician assistants (PAs) and licensed physicians (HB 215). The changes to the law allow PAs who practice primary care to collaborate with a licensed physician but require PAs who practice specialty care to be supervised by a licensed physician. … Continued

Scoping Out Health Care Worker Shortages

In areas where there are not enough doctors and nurses to keep up with the demand for their services such as rural and underserved urban areas—state legislators are broadening the roles of some licensed health professionals through scope of practice laws. Supporters say expanding the authority of nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dental hygienists and other … Continued

Legislative Update on Scope of Practice Bills

State legislators have introduced at least 115 bills in 2017 legislative sessions relating to scope of practice for nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dental hygienists and dental therapists. Eight bills have been signed into law. Some examples include: South Dakota now allows nurse practitioners to practice independently from a physician. Washington has authorized dental therapists to … Continued

Recent State Scope of Practice Changes

Two states recently changed their scope of practice laws. Legislation in Washington state recognizes dental therapists and South Dakota law now allows nurse practitioners full independent practice authority. Washington becomes the fifth state to recognize dental therapists as an oral health provider. Other states include Alaska, Maine, Minnesota and Vermont. The new legislation in Washington … Continued

Scope of Practice Bills Introduced During the 2017 Session

State legislators have introduced at least 80 bills so far relating to scope of practice for nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dental hygienists and dental therapists. Connecticut and Kansas pending legislation would authorize licensure or certification for dental therapists. Bills in California, Mississippi and Oklahoma would allow nurse practitioners to practice independently from a physician. Bills … Continued

Dental Therapists Gaining Traction as Oral Health Providers

Dental therapists have gained recognition as oral health providers who can perform basic clinical dental treatment and preventive services in a variety of settings. They may work in private offices and at community-based clinics, often in rural areas. As members of a team, dental therapists provide services such as restorative dental treatment, disease prevention and … Continued

Changes for Nurse Practitioners in VA Facilities

Nurse practitioners can now practice in VA facilities without physician supervision. The Department of Veterans Affairs allows nurse practitioners to practice to the full extent of their training at VA facilities across the country under a new rule made final Jan. 14, 2017. VA officials believe the new rule will make it easier for its … Continued

Welcome to ScopeofPracticePolicy.org!

Lawmakers in Kentucky debated the pros and cons of expanding the role of nurse practitioners to address the lack of health care providers in rural areas in their state.  After years of discussion within the medical community and in the legislature, Kentucky landed on a compromise for expanding the scope of practice for nurse practitioners … Continued