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Legislative Agenda

Learn about the status of legislation introduced on Beacon Hill that would impact you, your dental practice, and the oral health of the residents of the Commonwealth.

Legislative Update 2.14.24

The first Wednesday in February, during the second year of each two-year legislative session, marks a major deadline at the Massachusetts Statehouse because of the Joint Rule 10. On that day, bills must be advanced by committees to be taken up by lawmakers or sent to a "study order" for the remainder of the session. Often, if a bill receives a "study order," it means the bill is unlikely to move forward during the remainder of the legislative session, and the issue will need to be readdressed by filing a bill in the next legislative session.    

The following MDS-sponsored bills were sent to a "study order" by the Committee on Financial Services, meaning they will not be progressing further in this session as standalone bills. Summaries of these bills can be found in the next accordion on this page.

  • H1122: An Act relative to financial services contracts for dental benefits corporations 
  • H1123: An Act further clarifying the delivery of health care
  • H1124: An Act relative to dental insurance assignment of benefits
Although this is a different outcome than we had hoped for, we will continue to monitor the situation at the Statehouse looking for other opportunities to advance these bills and continue to advocate for these issues as they are being “studied.”

On a more positive note, the following MDS-supported bills remain with the Committee on Health Care Financing, which means they are still active in the legislative process. The Committee on Health Care Finance has until March 27, 2024, to take further action on all bills currently under their review.
  • House Bill 3880: An Act relative to dental hygienist reciprocal licensure 
  • House Bill 300:  An Act establishing a dentist diversion program  
We remain hopeful that in the coming months omnibus bills will be drafted serving as potential opportunities to advance our agenda. We are actively monitoring health care and workforce development bills that are currently in development. The MDS Government Affairs Committee will review and take action on any potential opportunities by identifying which legislation could be most impactful and likely be adopted as amendments to larger, more encompassing bills. 

If such an opportunity presents itself the process for filing our language as an amendment to an overall bill would involve identifying a legislator to file the amendment, then activating a grassroots campaign where MDS members contact their local representative urging them to support our amendment.

Other legislation of note:
  • Senate Bill 460: An Act instituting a ban on fluoride supplementation of public water supplies
The MDS actively opposed this bill, which has been sent to "study," and it is not expected to progress further. 
 
Although not part of our formal advocacy agenda, the MDS offered letters of support on behalf of the following two bills, which were both released favorably by the Committee and remain active in the legislative process.
  • Senate Bill 615: An Act relative ensuring treatment for genetic craniofacial conditions
  • House Bill 1094: An Act expanding coverage of dental procedures 

The MDS Government Affairs Committee and MDS staff will continue to actively advocate for our agenda during this legislative session and keep you updated on any further progress or changes as they arise. Please email the MDS Director of Government Affairs if you have questions.

Current Bills Filed 2023 to 2025

See legislative update on 2.14.24 in previous accordion on this page.

BILLS FILES ON BEHALF OF THE MASSACHUSETTS DENTAL SOCIETY

Dental Insurance Assignment of Benefits
An Act Relative to Dental Insurance Assignment of Benefits | H.1124 

The Massachusetts Dental Society believes that all Massachusetts residents should have access to quality oral health care, and should be able to choose the dental provider that’s best for them. To preserve patient choice, An Act relative to dental insurance assignment of benefits would require all insurance carriers to permit a covered person to direct in writing that reimbursable benefits for covered services be paid directly to the treating dentist of their choice.


Preventing Cost Shifting Within the Delivery of Dental Care
An Act relative to financial services contracts for dental benefits corporations | H.1122

This legislation, An Act relative to financial services contracts for dental benefits corporations, would prohibit carriers from contractually setting fees for services for which the carriers do not provide payment, except for services for which the carrier would have provided payment had the patient not reached a contractual limitation (i.e., frequency limitations, annual maximums, etc.).


Patients First Act
An Act further clarifying the delivery of health care | H.1123

On January 1, 2022, Governor Baker signed the Patients First Act into law. This act requires health care providers, including dental providers, to tell patients how much they will pay for planned procedures in advance of the treatment– based on the patient’s specific dental insurance plan benefits. The Department of Public Health may fine providers who fail to comply with the requirements with a penalty of up to $2,500 for each non-compliance.

In July 2022, Massachusetts passed an amendment to the law to delay enforcement of the act until January 1, 2025. In February 2023, An Act to Further Clarify the Delivery of Health Care, was introduced to amend the law to exclude "any provider licensed to practice dentistry." The MDS will continue to work the legislators to clarify this issue.



BILLS SUPPORTED BY THE MASSACHUSETTS DENTAL SOCIETY

Dental Hygienist Reciprocal Licensure
An Act relative to dental hygienist reciprocal licensure | H.3880

This legislation, An Act relative to dental hygienist reciprocal licensure, would establish a process allowing for DENTISTS licensed and practicing in another jurisdiction (including a foreign country) for at least 5 years to be licensed to practice as a dental hygienist in the Commonwealth without additional examination.


Dentist Diversion Program
An Act establishing a dentist diversion program | H.300

The Act establishing a dentist diversion program legislation had new sections added. Sections 52H and 52I to GL Chapter 112, regulating the registration of dentists and dental hygienists, by establishing a dentist diversion program; directs the Board of Registration of Dentistry (BORID) to develop and regulate the implementation of remediation programs for licensed dental professionals at risk of losing their licenses due to illness, substance use or other mental health disorders. This legislation allows use of such programs as alternatives to traditional disciplinary actions.



BILLS OPPOSED BY THE MASSACHUSETTS DENTAL SOCIETY

Ban on Public Water Fluoridation—MDS Opposes
An Act instituting a ban on fluoride supplementation of public water supplies | S.460

The Massachusetts Dental Society opposes this legislation, An Act instituting a ban on fluoride supplementation of public water supplies.


MLR—Pending Regulation

Medical Loss Ratio
Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) ensures that dental plans are more transparent and accountable to the patients they serve. This reform requires dental insurance companies to spend at least 83% of patient premium dollars on patient care. After winning a landslide victory at the ballot box in November 2022, the initiative is going through the regulatory process and will become law in January 2024.