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Summary: Under the current Occupational Code, dentists and dental hygienists must have a license to practice dentistry in Texas. There are long term licenses as well as provisional licenses for dentists who may be from out of state and must live in Texas for a period of time before receiving a full license. HB 1491 would make it easier for dentists from out of state to perform pro-bono and charitable work while on visits to Texas. There are currently provisions in the code for retired Texas dentists to provide free, charitable dentistry services to patients. HB 1491 would add a similar subsection that would allow for out of state (but still equally as licensed) dentists to work, for charity, in Texas for a brief time.
Analysis: We support HB 1491 because it eliminates a regulatory barrier that may prevent well qualified out of state dentists from providing charity dental work in Texas. While eliminating a regulatory barrier, this bill makes no change that would lower the quality of care patients receive. HB 1491 would increase the number of dentists allowed to perform charitable services in Texas. We encourage House members to vote in favor of HB 1491.