S-0823.1  _______________________________________________


                         SENATE BILL 5504



State of Washington      57th Legislature     2001 Regular Session


By Senators Thibaudeau, Deccio, McAuliffe, Costa, Kohl‑Welles, Fraser and Oke


Read first time 01/24/2001.  Referred to Committee on Health & Long‑Term Care.

Allowing dental hygienists to provide preventive oral health services to low-income and functionally disabled persons.

    AN ACT Relating to licensed dental hygienists; amending RCW 18.29.056; creating a new section; and declaring an emergency.




    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.  The legislature finds that access to preventive oral health services for low-income children and functionally disabled persons, which are provided by licensed dental hygienists, is restricted by current practice settings.

    It is the intent of the legislature to expand access to and reduce the cost of preventive oral health services to children, elderly individuals, and functionally disabled persons who currently have unmet oral health needs.  The legislature intends to broaden the allowable practice settings in which licensed dental hygienists may provide preventive services that are within their scope of unsupervised practice.


    Sec. 2.  RCW 18.29.056 and 1997 c 37 s 2 are each amended to read as follows:

    (1) Dental hygienists licensed under this chapter with two years' practical clinical experience with a licensed dentist within the preceding five years may be employed or retained by health care facilities and programs to perform authorized dental hygiene operations and services without dental supervision, limited to removal of deposits and stains from the surfaces of the teeth, application of topical preventive or prophylactic agents, polishing and smoothing restorations, and performance of root planing and soft-tissue curettage, but shall not perform injections of anesthetic agents, administration of nitrous oxide, or diagnosis for dental treatment.  The performance of dental hygiene operations and services in health care facilities and programs shall be limited to patients, students, and residents of the facilities and programs.  For dental planning and dental treatment, dental hygienists shall refer patients to licensed dentists.

    (2) For the purposes of this section, "health care facilities and programs" are limited to hospitals; nursing homes; home health agencies; group homes serving the elderly, handicapped, and juveniles; state-operated institutions under the jurisdiction of the department of social and health services or the department of corrections; home and community services that provide services for functionally disabled persons receiving long-term care, as those terms are defined in chapter 74.39A RCW; any sites used to carry out health care programs authorized by federal, state, or local governments or tribal agencies; and federal, state, and local public health facilities, state or federally funded community and migrant health centers, and tribal clinics.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3.  If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4.  This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect immediately.


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