The DMD Check-Up: Role of Hygienists Expanding

April 7, 2017
Joe Hannan

A bill passed by the Georgia legislature would expand the scope of practice for hygienists. It now goes to the governor for final approval. If signed, the bill will allow hygienists to perform typical hygiene work as well as some basic preventative procedures without direct oversight of a dentist. The measure had been opposed by the dental lobby for years, but the Georgia Dental Association announced its support for the measure this year.

Georgia dental hygienists, dentists at odds over program for kids https://t.co/EFVfZ4T8MZ pic.twitter.com/EXAYWn4Bkq

— AJC (@ajc) August 23, 2016

EXPANDING ROLE FOR GEORGIA HYGIENISTS

Under a new bill passed by the Georgia legislature, hygienists would be able to provide patients with basic dental care without the direct supervision of a dentist.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported on its passage, which took place on Thursday. The bill, which was years in the making, now requires the governor’s signature for it to become law.

According to the Journal Constitution, the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Sharon Cooper and State Sen. Rene Unterman, both Republicans, have said that dental industry lobbying efforts have thwarted its passage in the past. This year, the Georgia Dental Association threw its support behind the bill.

The Journal Constitution reports that lawmakers hope the bill will improve access to oral healthcare. If signed into law, it will allow hygienists to perform cleanings and preventative care without a dentist present in settings such as health centers, school clinics and dental offices. Unterman and Cooper say this will help stem the flow of dental patients to hospital emergency rooms.

Meet Jennifer Plotnick, hipster dentist https://t.co/g4V2RGU0zJ

— New York Magazine (@NYMag) April 6, 2017

A DENTIST WHO REALLY GETS MILLENNIALS

Millennials: They’re taking over the workforce and they’re going to comprise a major component of your patient base for the years to come. Curious about what kind of experience they want? Check out this New York Magazine profile of Jennifer Plotnick, D.M.D., to find out.

Plotnick’s Practice, Grand Street Dental, is in the mecca of hipsterdom: Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She’s chosen to decorate her office with work from her artist husband. And, as the article says, her office could easily be mistaken for a yoga studio. This tech- and marketing-savvy doctor has fully unleashed the power of Instagram.

Could you say the same for your practice? Food for thought, if you’re looking to spruce the place up, or if you’re a young dentist looking to start a practice of your own.

DENTIST CHARGED WITH INSURANCE FRAUD

A New York dentist has been charged with insurance fraud, the Daly Gazette reports.

Authorities allege that Martin A. Sorbero, D.D.S., 62, of Canajoharie, has been charged with forgery, larceny and falsifying business records. Sorbero is accused of creating a false insurance claim application to Care Credit. He received $11,000 for the false claim, the Daily Gazette reports.

Authorities said they have identified other fraud victims, including a deceased woman, though they declined to say how many. According to the Daily Gazette, Sorbero has been sued twice for allegedly performing unnecessary work.

A free dental clinic in Mt. Airy has helped hundreds smile a little brighter today. @WFMY pic.twitter.com/xv7JZxkcIo

— Bailey Pennington (@Bailey_Marie93) April 1, 2017

DENTISTS DOING GOOD

North Carolina dentists gathered for a day of charity work on Saturday, April 1, providing more than 500 people in the community with free dental care.

CBS North Carolina reports that people started lining up for the free care at 10 p.m. the night prior, with some traveling from as far away as Georgia. According to CBS, some waited for as long as 12 hours to see the dentist.

Got a news tip? See something you’d like to have included in the DMD Check-Up? Email Dentist’s Money Digest managing editor Joe Hannan: jhannan@dmdtoday.com

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