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Governor Signs Bill Improving Dentistry Standards in Alaska

JUNEAU-Today, Governor Sean Parnell signed Senate Bill 92, which brings Alaska into line with current dentistry standards and practices.   SB 92, sponsored by Senator Dennis Egan (D-Juneau), represents the first comprehensive review and update of the state’s statutes regarding dentistry in 20 years.

“This legislation was greatly needed to make sure that Alaska’s dental industry keeps using high-quality practices and dental patients get the best care possible,” said Senator Egan.  “I worked with a committee of dentists, dental hygienists, and industry experts here in Alaska to craft a bill that not only brings Alaska’s laws up-to-date, but also meets the unique challenges of dentistry in Alaska.”

SB 92 makes two significant changes to the state’s Board of Dental Examiners including giving the Board greater authority and flexibility over licensing by credentials and requiring that the president of the Board be a licensed dentist or dental hygienist.   SB 92 also raises accountability in Alaska’s dental industry by providing an inspector to investigate claims of malpractice.

“While we have the utmost confidence in our dentists and their staff, it is important that patients know they have a place to go if something isn’t right,” said Senator Egan.  “Today, we made sure that state regulators and dental offices alike will maintain standards that include the best service possible.”

The new legislation also clarifies who can own a dental clinic, establishing that owners and operators of dental clinics be licensed practitioners, except for certain non-profits, local governments and institutions of higher learning and other institutions offering accredited training programs.  In addition, SB 92 tailors requirements for supervision of dental assistants to accommodate the situation of students and instructors in credentialed academic programs.

SB 92 also cuts red tape by allowing the use of technology to speed up communications, including renewal of licenses via the internet.

“Through education and technology, this bill improves dentistry in our state.  It will increase opportunities and streamline the process for professionals already practicing here in Alaska,” said Senator Egan.  “I would like to thank the Governor, my fellow lawmakers and the dental industry for their support in getting this very important and overdue legislation passed.”

For more information, please contact Dana Owen in Senator Egan’s office at (907) 465-4947.

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