Jill Tanzi 0

Support an Emergency Order to Increase Dental Assistants in MA

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Since before the current coronavirus pandemic, dentists in Massachusetts were facing a significant shortage of dental assistants. Now, during the current COVID19 surge there are almost no applicants for dental assisting positions in the state.

As of January 2016, BORID enacted very strict policies, such as the licensing of all dental assistants, mandatory infection control/OSHA courses, an ethics exam, CPR, and radiology certification. These excessive regulations are deterring potential applicants from pursuing this entry level career.

Dental Assistants should be licensed and trained formally in radiology, only if they will be taking x-rays in the dental office. All other BORID requirements for dental assistants by the state are onerous, especially in the first six months of training. These obstacles have contributed to fewer On-the-Job trained dental assistants that are necessary to fully staff dental offices.

Please support an emergency executive order that would immediately extend the initial On-the-Job training period from six months to 12 months without formal notification to BORID until the candidate wishes to be licensed and take x-rays. Many of these courses are already required and offered within the dental office, such as CPR, infection control, and OSHA training. This would be more in line with medical assistants in our state who require no licensure.

This order would provide dentists with enough dental assistants to service our patients, maintain proper infection control, and provide excellent paying jobs ($18-35/hour) to people with or without a college education in our communities, such as restaurant workers who are currently unemployed.

This emergency action would aid those in need of employment and to allow dentists to provide greater access to care for all citizens of the Commonwealth. Without a properly fully staffed dental team, our availability remains limited.

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