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Guest license for charity dental care

Published (3/23/2012)
By Sue Hegarty
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In preparation for an Aug. 17-18 Minnesota Mission of Mercy event in Mankato to provide $1 million in free dental care to 2,000 residents, lawmakers are being asked to allow licensed dentists from other states to obtain a guest license to practice in Minnesota.

HF1972 would grant a guest license to a dentist, dental hygienist or dental assistant to provide free dental services for up to 10 days annually in Minnesota.

The House Health and Human Services Finance Committee approved the bill March 20 and referred it to the House Ways and Means Committee.

The Board of Dentistry would be able to grant a guest license not to exceed $25, which would be paid by the Minnesota Dental Foundation. Laura Kramer, director of government affairs for the Minnesota Dental Association, said up to 1,000 volunteers are expected to work at the temporary dental clinic this summer.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Greg Davids (R-Preston), said the visiting dental professionals will provide charity care, including free fillings, cleanings and extractions.

Sen. John Carlson (R-Bemidji) sponsors a Senate companion, SF1553, which awaits action by the Senate Finance Committee.

Event planners hope that if the Mankato event is successful, it can be used as a model in other areas of the state, such as Bemidji.

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