Summary: Seven states formed an interstate compact improving license portability for dentists and hygienists across all member states, reducing barriers such as re-licensing. The initiative, supported by multiple organizations, aims to address workforce challenges and expedite professional mobility.

Key Takeaways:

  • The compact facilitates license portability for dental professionals.
  • It aims to reduce re-licensing barriers and wait times.
  • Supported by significant partnerships, it seeks to address dental workforce challenges.

Seven states have enacted legislation to form an interstate compact that will empower licensed dentists and hygienists to easily practice in the other participating states.

Challenges and Solutions for Dental License Portability

Like other licensed professionals, dentists and dental hygienists face costs, wait times, and red tape to obtain a new license when moving from one state to another. To help these dental professionals start caring for patients as quickly as possible, the states will send officials to take part in a commission to establish the compact’s infrastructure.

“All over the country, dentists and dental hygienists are concerned about low staff levels that lead to long wait times for their patients,” said Linda J. Edgar, DDS, president of the American Dental Association. “Yet when trained, experienced dentists and hygienists move to a new state, they face the same barriers to getting a license as those who have never practiced before. The compact will help alleviate workforce challenges in these states and states that join in the future.”

Establishment of the Compact Commission

The compact is the result of a years-long partnership between the Council of State Governments (CSG), the Department of Defense (DoD), the American Dental Association (ADA), the Association of Dental Support Organizations (ADSO), and the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA).

The Compact Commission officially forms when at least seven states enact the compact legislation. Maine Gov Janet Mills’ signature on April 22 made the multi-state agreement official.
Maine joins Kansas, Virginia, Tennessee, Washington, Iowa, and Wisconsin in enacting the compact.

Benefits and Future Expansion

Under the multi-state agreement, the Compact Commission will provide a means of porting a dentist or dental hygienist’s license from any one of these states to any of the others, rather than requiring them to repeat the long, costly licensing process to practice their profession. Legislation to join the compact is also currently under consideration in Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, among other states.

Dental License Portability and Commission Oversight

Compact member states will appoint a commissioner to the Compact Commission and agree to recognize dentist and dental hygienist licenses from other member states. When professionals apply for licensure portability between states, the Commission will facilitate background checks and confirm whether they are licensed to practice and in good standing before issuing compact privileges. Partners in the compact expect the first compact privileges to be issued in about one year.

The Council of State Governments will lead the process of establishing the Compact Commission once legislation from the seven states becomes law. In the meantime, member states may appoint provisional commissioners and begin meeting informally to discuss the work of the compact.