New Laws Aim to Bolster Washington's Dental Workforce

New laws passed during the 2023 legislative session will provide more support for Washington’s dental workforce, particularly among hygienists.

Lawmakers passed several new dental reform laws during the session, including House Bill 1466, which allows dental hygienists moving to Washington more time to get licensed while working in the field. Washington State Dental Association (WSDA) Executive Director Bracken Killpack discussed the bill with State of Reform.

“Washington dentists face significant and persistent shortages in the dental workforce, especially among hygienists,” Killpack said. “For example, for every one hygienist looking for a position, there are more than four openings. As a result, hygienist position openings take months to fill, which negatively impacts patient access to preventive care. One strategy to address this shortage is to make it more seamless for hygienists moving into the state to begin practicing here.”

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