Posted by: Chuck Duvall, Denny Gallagher & Tripp Perrin, VDA Lobbyist
The 2013 General Assembly was not full of controversial issues for the VDA but a couple of important ones were positively resolved. The most important issue this year revolved around our insistence that the Department of Health continue to fully fund its public dentistry program while the specifics the and process of a primarily preventative model are hashed out. We felt another year was needed and, after having key patrons submit budget amendments, both the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees agreed and approved our recommended language verbatim. This gives all stakeholders another full year to ensure the dental safety net remains strong.
Another issue we worked on proactively with the Virginia Dental Hygienists Association was the new definition of Dental Hygiene, which the VDA Board of Directors approved over two years ago. This bill (HB 1349)
was simply an update to reflect specific responsibilities and did not in any way change their scope of practice. The bill passed both houses unanimously and is headed to the Governor's desk for his signature.
Late in the session after having a long conference call with the Board, the VDA submitted a couple of amendments to Senator Puckett's bill (SB 1347)
regarding the proposed Bluefield Dental School. The bill was approved WITH OUR AMENDMENTS pertaining to the development of a specific financial plan - including sources of funds for ongoing operating costs - and accountability to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) and the money committees of the General Assembly.
Our success as always is a great testament to, among other things, your ongoing relationship building with members of both parties and the goodwill dentistry has on the Hill. The 2013 General Assembly adjourned last week on February 23rd. Now that the session for this year has come to an end, our focus is on raising funds as all 100 members of the House of Delegates are up for re-election this year. We must keep pace and ultimately exceed prior years if we are to keep our profession safe while giving our patients the best possible care.
With that in mind - if you have not already contributed to the Virginia Dental Political Action Committee (VADPAC), or if you would like to increase your contribution, please complete a contribution form by clicking HERE. This is an election year and the VDA will be hosting fundraisers for a number of house and senate members throughout the state. Please keep an eye out for invitations. We encourage members to attend these events to show support for those legislators that have helped the profession and your patients throughout the years.
Mark your calendar for the 2014 VDA Day on the Hill, being held on Friday, January 17, 2014.