On Tuesday, September 12th, there was a hearing on “Food and Nutrition: Oral Health by the Massachusetts Joint Committee. More specifically, there was a hearing regarding legislation to enact mid-level dental providers for the commonwealth of Massachusetts. Alec Eidelman (D18) who is a DMD, MPH Dual degree candidate had participated testifying against Bill S. 1169, and FOR H. 2820/S. 142. Check out Alec’s written testimony BELOW….
“Joint Committee on Public Health, Chairpersons, and fellow residents – thank you for taking the time to hear all testimonies before you today. My name is Alec Eidelman, and as a 4th year Tufts Dental and Public Health student, the opportunity to advocate on behalf of my profession, institution, and patients is a tremendous honor – thank you.
The mid-level provider discussion has been hotly debated since I began dental school and three years ago, when I was open to its discussion – I was heavily scrutinized. Impassioned by public service, I became activated by promoting community water fluoridation in Rockport and Gloucester near my hometown of Marblehead. When fellow residents asked me why I was there and who was paying me – I replied, “Fluoride prevents cavities that would otherwise generate revenue for dentists, I’m here because it’s the right thing to do for my community.”
This same mentality is with me today while I advocate for Bill S. 142 and H. 2820 to provide education, regulation, and services to benefit the citizens of Massachusetts. Mid-level providers draw the comparison to NP’s and PA’s who require extensive clinical training and require masters level degrees. This training helps prepare these clinicians not only to preform procedures but to manage and treat patients.
My public health training has taught me that the way to provide the most economic, efficient, and equitable care to underserved populations is through prevention, screening, and education. Our bill provides for these to be implemented.
While caring for a 16 year old MassHealth patient this year with over 12 cavities and failing fillings, I was faced with the decision to treatment plan costly crowns, fillings, and root canals or to work with the patient. While explaining the process of cavities, her dietary influences, and the importance of hygiene and appointments it was clear that what this patient needed was support and direct instruction – not just treatment. Recognizing this was only possible through extensive training, direct attention, and collaboration for the patient.
I have invested nearly $500,000.00 into my dental and public health education, let’s invest our tax-payers dollars towards mid-level providers to not just to preform treatments, but to care for our underserved populations – because it’s the right thing to do for my community. “