Organization: Mississippi Dental Hygienists’ Association (MDHA)
Topic: General Supervision of Dental Hygienists (RDH)
During the legislative session of 2017, the number of states that moved from direct supervision to general supervision changed to 48 out of 50 states.
As of July 2017, Mississippi is the only state in the nation with graduates from accredited dental hygiene programs who work under direct supervision of dentists after graduation.
The MDHA endorses the position that general supervision of RDHs should be the rule of law rather than direct supervision. As the Mississippi statute 73-9-5 currently states, a dental hygienist must work under direct supervision of a dentist, which means that the dentist must be physically present in the facility in order for a dental hygienist to provide preventive care. Board Regulation 13 further defining direct supervision written by the Mississippi Board of Dental Examiners (MSBDE) states that a dentist must:
General supervision of RDHs specifies that a supervising dentist authorizes his or her licensed dental hygienist to perform preventive procedures, but is not required to be physically present. But general supervision requirements wouldn’t stop there. Additional stipulations must be met in order for RDHs to work without the physical presence of a dentist, including requiring:
There are many reasons the MDHA supports a change from direct to general supervision, including:
General supervision of RDHs is a proven long-standing practice in almost every state. Educational requirements for Mississippi RDHs are identical for RDHs in states practicing under general supervision. It’s also of note that dentists opposed to allowing an RDH to provide preventive care under general supervision would not be forced to do so.
Finally, to alleviate thoughts that general supervision is synonymous with independent practice, the Mississippi Dental Hygienists’ Association asserts:
• Independent practice is not the same as general supervision,
• Independent practice requires no supervision and direction from others (Mosby’s Medical Dictionary) while general supervision requires multiple levels of supervision
• MDHA is not advocating for ANY type of independent practice, and
• MDHA is not advocating for ANY type of mid-level provider.
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Direct Supervision: Mississippi and Alabama (Black)
General Supervision Laws Pending: Georgia and Hawaii (Red)
Loosely defined direct supervision: New Jersey (Navy)