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The Interstate Compact Moves Ahead

License portability has been a long time coming and this compact is an important step in the right direction

I have discussed the Dentist and Dental Hygienist (DDH) Compact every October since 2021, and this October is no exception. The interstate compact enables license portability for dentists and dental hygienists. If enacted by state legislatures, dental hygienists and dentists who are licensed in one compact member state will be able to practice in other participating compact states, which is known as “compact privilege.” At least seven states need to sign on to initiate the compact.

Legislation has been enacted in three states: Washington, Iowa, and Tennessee. Legislation is pending in five states: Kansas, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Wisconsin is considering introducing legislation, as well. We are getting closer to making the compact a reality, but still need to advocate for it. Other professions that currently have an interstate compact include occupational therapy, audiology and speech-language pathology, psychology, physical therapy, and nursing.

According to Matt Crespin, MPH, RDH, former president of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and executive director of Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin, “The DDH Compact will remove many of the barriers dental hygienists and dentists face when moving from state to state or for those holding licenses in multiple states.”

Crespin represents the ADHA at meetings held by the Council of State Governments National Center for Interstate Compacts and speaks on our behalf. Recently, he attended the DDH Compact Legislative Summit held in Washington, DC. The meeting was attended by state dental and dental hygiene associations, regulatory representatives from state boards, and several state legislators.

“There were many ADHA state constituent representatives in attendance who are heading home ready to activate coalitions of stakeholders to make the compact a reality in their states. This summit allowed for learning and connections to be made that will be positive for the dental hygiene and dental communities when licensing barriers are addressed,” Crespin shared.

Resources and helpful information, including a tool kit, are available on the DDH Compact website. It includes a fact sheet, possible impact, benefits, FAQs, and an example letter of support. The tool kit provides model legislation with the actual wording needed for a state to officially join the compact. This is key because substantial wording changes could jeopardize a state’s ability to participate. The model legislation also makes it very simple for law makers to draft the bill to enact the compact — it’s already written and ready to be discussed and voted upon. Let’s do this! License portability has been a long time coming and this compact is an important step in the right direction.

For more information visit the following resources:

Jill Rethman, RDH, BA
Editor in Chief

From Dimensions in Dental Hygiene. October 2023; 21(9):8

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