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North Carolina governor signs dental care bill aimed at increasing access to treatment


A bill passed on July 19 by the North Carolina General Assembly seeks to increase dental coverage and treatment in a state that has long experienced some of the lowest rates of citizen access to oral care in the country.

The law, championed by the Alliance for Access to Dental Care (AADC), a dental care advocacy group based in North Carolina, establishes a commission mandated to find ways to increase access and affordability. According to a press statement from the AADC, this group will be composed from members of its organization as well as appointees from the North Carolina dental Association, the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners and other independent members to be chosen by the state government. The task force will spend the remainder of this year developing solutions that will be put before the General Assembly in January 2013.

“The passage of this legislation is good news for the people of North Carolina, a state that currently ranks 47th in the nation in access to dental care,” Doug Brown, a member of the AADC, was quoted as saying in the statement. “Studies show that tens of millions of Americans are unable to access affordable dental care, and these patients often suffer in silence, here in North Carolina and across the country.

One of the ideas proposed by industry advocates and lawmakers involves outsourcing human resources and miscellaneous administrative duties to contractors in a bid to give more time to dentists for more clinical responsibilities. While the commission has only just begun to start its work, it is possible that some of the solutions offered may include public-private initiatives that could spur some job growth as well.

The new legislation, with luck, may assist the efforts of dental care professionals across North Carolina, like Raleigh dentist Dr. Thomas E. Cooke, D.D.S., who are committed to providing affordable dental care to the community.