Health Policy Update

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March 2, 2017

Approximately 25 percent of health agencies are involved in overseeing health professional licensure. Taking this into consideration, several bills related to the scope of practice for nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dental hygienists, and dental therapists have been introduced in state legislatures this year. Proposed legislation in Maryland and Kansas would authorize licensure or certification for dental therapists. Currently, three states license dental therapists: Maine, Minnesota, and Vermont, while in Alaska and Washington, dental therapists are allowed to practice on tribal lands. In addition, bills in Arkansas and Oklahoma would modify prescriptive authority for nurse practitioners, while bills in Connecticut and New Mexico would allow physician assistants to enter into collaborative practice agreements with physicians. More information on scope of practice bills and policies can be found on the Scope of Practice Policy website, designed by ASTHO and the National Conference of State Legislatures to educate state policymakers about scope of practice issues related to nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dental hygienists, and dental therapists. The site provides nonpartisan, unbiased, objective policy information about the scope of practice laws in the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and U.S. territories.