The “Dental Therapist” Train Just Keeps Rolling Along

Check this out. What you will see is a report that Vermont is joining a cadre of other states, and many foreign countries, in moving toward the recognition of “Dental Therapists” as hamburger helper for dentists. Translated, we will increasingly see these Therapists performing tasks that have taken up a lot of Dentists’ days.

That’s sort of not very important. What is important is that we have now come to recognize the litany of standard issues that arise when PA’s, NP’s and other care extenders seek to occupy territory previously only occupied by “doctors.”

Like. Pushback from the appropriate professional societies.

Like. Debate as to whether they can operate in solo practice or need “supervision” and, if the latter, what kind of supervision?  

Like. What kinds of procedures are they allowed to perform?

Like. What good does it do to argue that they are going to be working in “underserved” areas when any law providing them with licensure lets them work anywhere they damned well please?

Bottom Line. And so it goes. The big question here is really the extent to which, a few decades from now, the majority of “healthcare” will be provided by care extenders? Obviously, for those of us in the healthcare marketing vertical, the answer to this question matters a lot. Restated, the question sounds a lot like “Who will our customers be in the future?” 

Place your bets!

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