Foster cooperative working relationships with dental auxiliaries in the state of Illinois
Recommend policies to the Society, addressing issues related to dental auxiliaries
Study and promote the continuation of existing educational programs or foster the establishment of new educations programs for dental auxiliaries, as needed
Advise the Society on issues that impact dental auxiliaries in the state
It was surprising to receive the call because I have always stayed “neutral”, per say, in politics. I have always stayed clear of discussing politics and becoming a member of any political agenda. My feelings were that I have my opinions, you have your opinions, and we can either agree or agree to disagree. At the end of the day, we are Dental Hygienists who are proud and loyal to our profession.
With that said, it was still a surprise to receive a call from an ISDS member about the nomination. After the call, a great deal of deliberation went in to how my decision could benefit our profession, by sitting in on this committee (if elected to do so). On the other hand, if I had chosen not to sit on the committee, someone else would be a voice for our profession. I reflected back on the hundreds of calls from you, my colleagues, about how we need to strive towards doing more for the community, schools, and hospitals and strive towards independent practice. If you have spoken to me about this, you already know that I agree 100 percent! At times during these conversations, RDHs also expressed how they are not part of an association or member and the reasons why. However, the conversation would always come back to how we need to do more, and that we need our voices to be heard. Feeling that I could help our profession, I accepted the nomination. Truthfully, after the call I went about life not giving much thought about being nominated because as mentioned above, my lack of political involvement. I am a practicing RDH who happens to teach, host continuing education seminars for dental professionals, speak at other seminars, and also own a dental placement service. I was sure there was someone other than myself that the ISDS would feel was more “politically suited” for the position.
In late August I received word that I was chosen to sit on the Committee on Allied Dental Personnel. November 2013 was the first meeting and this was the first time I heard anything about HB (House Bill) 4414 and SB (Senate Bill) 2849. The bill was already written and I simply heard a review of the bill. At no time during this meeting was there a discussion about dental assistants being able to scale or remove calculus from teeth. I can assure you that if I did hear any mention about this, my voice would have been heard loud and clear. To make my intentions understood with everyone who will be reading this, or sharing this information with other dental professionals, I would have been expressing my objections even though the bill was already written. In other words, I can disagree, and my disagreement will be noted, but if the majority agrees then my vote is over-ruled. The good news: there are three other dental hygienists on the board. Therefore, even though I have not had the opportunity to meet them, my hopes are that they have the same values for our profession so many of us do.
Some RDHs took these notifications as a sign that I was not united with them. To those who doubted my intentions, please be aware that I was doing everything in my power to provide you with the most up-to-date and accurate information. As a committee member, I have the privilege of knowing what is on the table and I am willing to provide my colleagues with non-confidential information. My loyalty never wavered, and when I post information from the ISDS, it is to simply inform you without any bias on my part.
In late February, I started to read information and hear from my colleagues about HB 4414 & SB2849. I was informed to reach out to our state legislators about opposing Dental Assistants scaling teeth. I continuously asked where the source of this information came from. My initial thought was, “did I miss this imperative information in the November meeting?” That day, I contacted Mr. Dave Marsh, who is the lobbyist and Director of Governmental Affairs for the ISDS. He is also considered by many, the “go-to-guy” when it comes to ISDA bills at the Capital. Mr. Marsh is also on the Allied Dental Personnel. Once confirming with Mr. Marsh that my understanding was correct (see below statements from Mr. Marsh), I began spreading the word and informing RDHs with the information.
The reason for this letter is so my colleagues know that I am one voice (vote) of four RDHs on this committee. For the past 35 years, I have worked alongside many of you, placed you in jobs and listened to your concerns, wants, needs and fears. To be frank, I have the same concerns as many of you. Since my induction into this committee, I have reached out to the IDHA President, Mrs. Bunge, and have assured her of my intentions to fight for the rights of RDHs in Illinois. I have also spoken to Mrs. Jones, the South Suburban IDHA President, about the importance of the Collaborative Practice Senate Bill 2847. My intention to do what is best for Illinois RDHs has never been clearer. I am fighting for our profession to succeed, and I am doing this within the ISDS. In other words, I feel I am on another professional’s territory fighting for US!
I want you to know that YOU need to continue to make your voice heard, and if that means you are a part of a committee or association to help our profession, then do it with respect and dignity by spreading the correct information and NOT bias information or hearsay! As I have said and written repeatedly this past month, “read the bill(s)”. At times, we count on others to provide us with information; however, when it comes to our profession and changes, your voice can make a difference. You must read the information provided from the correct source.
As stated above, I have every intention on informing you on information (that is not confidential) after each ISDS meeting. As a committee member, I will be a voice that states loud and clear, and with accuracy, that Illinois RDHs are willing and capable of providing care to individuals without constant supervision. I will vote in the best interest of our profession, and I will also consider the affects auxiliary personnel have if given added responsibilities.
I accepted this nomination so you can rest assure I am a committee member fighting for us to expand and move forward to provide the best for the people of Illinois. However, you must realize I am one voice (vote) and as stated earlier; the majority rules! You need to stay informed with the CORRECT information. You must stay vigilant with your actions and file petitions against the bills you are knowledgeable about and believe will help us to continue to move forward and help the people of Illinois.
I sit here and think to myself, this Committee on Allied Dental Personnel has no idea what has just been nominated in to their mists. In the past weeks, I have called and e-mailed Mr. Marsh numerous times. He has been forthright in answering all my questions, even ones that I thought I maybe I should not ask because it might make me look imprudent. However, never once did Mr. Mash make me feel that way. I have been informed that Mr. Marsh sides with the doctors, and that one thing is said and another is done. However, I must formulate my own opinion, and thus far I have been provided correct information and his actions have also rendered truthful. I have been informed that the bill is ambiguous and could be changed. Rest assured, this new ISDS committee member of Allied Dental Personnel has the best interest of our profession at-hand. I am NOT getting paid by anyone for doing this; I have simply accepted this appointment to fight for our rights and our profession and to help the people of Illinois.
As a RDH for the past 26 years, I am still passionate about our profession and the people we serve. Still to this day, I remember the oath I took the day I graduated from Prairie State College. I took this opportunity to be part of this committee and voice what is needed/wanted by hygienists and to keep you informed, without any bias opinion or alternative motives what bills are being presented. Again, if I am not the majority (on a vote) the bill will proceed to the senate or house. However, this committee will know that I stand beside my hygiene colleagues, united as one.
In the next few months, I welcome any meetings with IDHA President and Presidents of any IDHA component to discuss the future of Illinois Hygienists. Feel free to reach out to me. I am only an e-mail away.
Your Fellow Colleague,
Kathy Karwoski, RDH., MA
Illinois State Dental Society
Subject: The role of the Community Dental Health Coordinator (CDHC)
Dear ISDS Dental Hygiene Member:
You have probably heard about the Illinois State Dental Society’s recent introduction of House Bill 4414 to the Illinois legislature. HB4414 proposes creating a new dental team member called a Community Dental Health Coordinator (CDHC). The CDHC may be a dental hygienist, dental assistant or lay person. As a courtesy to our dental hygiene members, we want to take this opportunity to dispel any misinformation you may have received about the role and duties of the CDHC.
A Community Dental Health Coordinator (CDHC):
Works in under-served rural and urban communities, usually in an FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center) or County Health Clinic setting
Helps bring more people into the oral health system without compromising safety or the quality of care
Serves as a conduit between people in under-served counties desperately needing care and the dentists who can provide that care
Receives training in oral health promotion, community organization and networking, cultural competency and public health
Works under a dentist’s supervision
A dental assistant or lay person trained as a CDHC DOES NOT:
Perform any clinical function not already permitted by law
There are no plans to change this now or in the future.
CDHCs are community health workers with dental skills focusing on education, prevention, and access that will bridge the gap between those that need dental care and those that provide the care in rural and urban areas.
We hope this answers any questions you may have due to misleading information that has been distributed on the CDHC. If you have further questions or concerns, or would like to contact your state legislators in support of HB 4414, please contact Pam Cuffle in our Government Relations department at 800/475-4737. We will be happy to speak with you and always enjoy hearing from our members.
Mr. Dave Marsh
Director of Government Relations
This was the corrected email I received about the bill from So Sub Component Trustee, Hillary McCarey
----- Message ----
From: South Suburban Dental Hygienist Association
Sent: Sunday, March 2, 2014 8:15 PM
Subject: Correction to previous email
I apologize, In the previous subject line. The last three words should not have been there. The Assistants would NOT be scaling for us, I just wanted to make sure I noted that. Thank you for all your support.
Hillary McCarey, RDH
South Suburban- IL 04
From: Illinois Dental Hygienists Association
Date: March 13, 2014 4:14:58 PM CDT
Subject: HB4441 and SB2847 eblast
The Illinois Dental Hygienists' Association URGENTLY needs your help!!! HB 4441 - Collaborative Practice hearing is scheduled in the Health Care Licenses Committee on Thursday, March 20th, 2014. The Senate bill has not yet been posted, but we anticipate it will be soon. We request you submit an e- slip as a PROPONENT to support HB4441. We also request your permission to list you as one of our supporters during our testimony. Our ONLY known opposition is the Illinois State Dental Society.
Attached is a FACT sheet on Collaborative Practice between Registered Dental Hygienists and Dentists. The main focus of the bill is to allow the mandated dental exam by a dentist to take place AFTER the dental hygienist provides preventive and/or therapeutic services. Currently this is accepted around the state as the clinical standard of practice in private dental offices, but requires shutting down the services in public health clinics, nursing homes, institutions, mobile vans if a dentist is not available to do the exam PRIOR to the dental hygienist providing the preventive or therapeutic services. ORAL HEALTH DISEASE IN ILLINOIS IS DUE TO A LACK OF PREVENTION and BARRIERS TO INDIVIDUALS ACCESSING THESE SERVICES. In public health programs, institutions, nursing homes, school-based programs the dentist is the gatekeeper to preventive and therapeutic services, while most DDS already practice this way in the private sector with no safety concerns.
PLEASE take a few minutes and file an e-slip as a PROPONENT of HB 4441 and SB 2847. Please send us an email with your organization’s name and your title telling us if we have permission to list you as one of our SUPPORTERS! You may also contact our Lobbyists: Jan Starr and John Cusick.
Kimberly K. Benkert, RDH, BSDH, MPH, COM
Becky Bunge, RDH, IDHA President (firstname.lastname@example.org)
IDHA Legislation Chair
IDHA Website Information: http://www.idha.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/OPPOSE_SB_2849_2_2014.doc
Additional Information: http://www.ada.org/sections/advocacy/pdfs/ADA_Breaking_Down_Barriers-Community_Dental_Health_Coordinator.pdf
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