Brief Cases: ‘Minnesota-light’ model for dental therapists, and educating lawyers on the go

Earlier this year, Minnesota became the first state to enact a law authorizing the deployment of a new type of health professional, dental therapists, to serve rural and underserved populations. The University of Minnesota followed by launching a four-year baccalaureate program in dental therapy last fall.

But a recent assessment from the nonprofit W.K. Kellogg Foundation urged a more simplified training and certification process of two years for a therapist or three years for joint dental therapy/dental hygiene education after high school, “to deliver a specified subset of dental procedures similar to successful models used outside of the U.S. for decades.”

The report concludes that the “Minnesota dental therapy model requires more schooling and stricter oversight than the established international model — two differences that could severely diminish its effectiveness by creating barriers to entering the profession and by increasing dental care costs.”

In particular, the report suggests that “dental therapists, who perform preventive and basic dental services, could provide sorely needed care to millions of underserved Americans, working in collaboration with dentists while expanding their reach. Similar to a nurse practitioner or physician assistant in the medical field, dental therapists are envisioned as members of the dental team that is led by the dentist or dental specialist. Internationally, dental therapists have been used successfully for decades to address inadequate access to dental care.”

However, dental therapy is still relatively new to the United States. In Alaska, dental therapists began work in 2003 in rural tribal areas of the state, according to the report. Dental therapy began in the 1920s in New Zealand and is now well-established around the world, including countries with advanced dental care similar to the United States, such as England, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands, the foundation report notes.

“Decades of research have shown that the preventive and basic dental repair services provided by dental therapists are safe, high quality, acceptable to the public, and cost-effective,” it concludes.

Audio study courses for lawyers
Eagan-based West LegalEdcenter, a Thomson Reuters business, introduced software that allows lawyers to download required Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit courses on their iPhone and iPod touch.

“CLE Mobile allows users to listen to more than 2,000 CLE courses wherever they are and whenever it is most convenient,” the company said in a press release. After purchasing available CLE content online, courses become available for download to an iPhone or iPod touch through the CLE Mobile app,” the release said. “In addition, CLE Mobile also allows users to submit completed courses for online state mandatory CLE credit. West LegalEdcenter has re-created its online experience.”

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Gary W Vollan on 12/21/2009 - 01:54 pm.

    American Dental Association Being Held Accountable for Greed

    Republican Senator Charles Grassley’s (R-IA) call for a financial discloser from the American Dental Association (ADA) along with other medical groups is just a start of holding corporate ADA accountable for the money it wastes and spends as a nonprofit suppressing and pushing out competition. The American Dental Association lobbies federal and state legislators to disregard legislation that would regulate the denturist profession in many states that include Kentucky and Wyoming. The ADA spends money to persecute denturists.

    The ADA lobbied for exclusion of language to expand the dental health aide therapists programs to states other than Alaska in the recent U.S. Senate Bill 1790. The American Dental Association, wasted money fighting Alaska and lost; trying to prevent dental health aide therapists from providing dental services to Natives of Alaska living in remote areas. The American Dental Association lobbies to suppress dental hygienists from having independent boards and practices.

    The American Dental Associations total lobbying expenditures as of October for 2009 was $2,110,000.00 reported by opensecrets.org. The ADA’s self-serving political agenda is hurting consumers by suppressing qualified competitors that provide oral health services to those with disparities. ADA works against its very own vision and mission statement by suppressing competition that has been trained and educated in providing oral health care services to those that are unable to pay the high prices charged by dentist leaving Americans without needed dental care.

    Many people do without needed dental care because of high prices charged by dentist and not being eligible for Medicaid, low income programs and not having dental healthcare insurance. Corporate ADA has the power and money to change the current dental care delivery system for the better if the American public would speak out against the American Dental Associations deceiving and pacifying public relations campaign for a better public image.

    Gary W. Vollan L.D.
    State Coordinator, Wyoming State Denturist Association
    P.O. Box 332, Basin, Wyoming 82410
    307-568-2047
    http://www.wysda.org

    References:

    137th APHA Annual Meeting (November 7-11, 2009): Denturists: Alternative healthcare providers for oral health screenings and referrals
    http://apha.confex.com/apha/137am/webprogram/Session27637.html

    http://grassley.senate.gov/news/Article.cfm?customel_dataPageID_1502=24413

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/08/health/policy/08grassley.html?scp=2&sq=grassley&st=cse

    http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/clientsum.php?year=2009&lname=American+Dental+Assn&id=

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