Saturday, June 14, 2008

Maine Governor Signs Dental Access Bill

Governor John E. Baldacci today ceremonially signed LD 2192, “An Act To Increase Access to Dental Care.” The law recognizes the need to increase access to dental care in rural, underserved areas of the state. A pilot program is established to provide tax credits to encourage dentists to practice in these areas for five years. At the conclusion of the pilot, the Legislature will determine whether to continue, alter or suspend the program.

“There are fewer issues that are more important than health care. Maine citizens need access to affordable, quality health care – including access to oral health care,” said Governor Baldacci. “I want to thank all those here today who have worked collaboratively on this very important issue. It’s a great step to ensure that access is broadened in areas where their services are needed most.”

The Maine Dental Association and Maine Primary Care Association supported the legislation, which was sponsored by Rep. Pat Sutherland (D-Chapman). A number of area dentists also attended the signing ceremony.

The Governor noted that these groups and individuals have worked together over the years to increase the number of dental providers in designated dental health professional shortage areas, to fund programs to increase local capacity, and on a state funded dental education loan program, among other strategies.

The bill was originally signed by the Governor on April 24.

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