Historic Bill to Create a Dental Therapist Program Heads to the Governor

Mar 13, 2019

Santa Fe, NM – Today, House Democratic Majority Whip Doreen Gallegos (D-Las Cruces) passed House Bill 308, the Dental Therapist bill to expand dental care for New Mexicans. Here is a statement from the New Mexico House Democrats:

House Bill 308, sponsored by Rep. Doreen Gallegos, amends the Dental Health Care Act, Section 61-5A-2 NMSA 1978, to license and establish dental therapists as a new type of dental practitioner. The bill also sets the scope of practice for dental therapists, places limits on where dental therapists can practice, and sets dental therapist licensure fees.

“This legislation is a critical step forward to address rural health care disparities and ensure that New Mexicans have access to the health care services they need. For rural and underserved communities, access to dental health care might require hours of driving. This program will improve the lives of New Mexicans of all backgrounds, and I am excited to see the Governor sign it into law,” said House Majority Whip Doreen Gallegos.

“The passage of the Dental Therapist legislation creates an unprecedented and welcome opportunity to tribal communities to respond to dental health care needs on our respective reservations, especially for our children. It took many years to see this become a reality and we salute Rep. Gallegos and Sen. Shendo for their support. This is a partnership to fully maximize the utilization of our respective sovereign powers and authorities to serve our citizens,” said E. Paul Torres, Chairman of the All Pueblo Council of Governors.

House Bill 308 now heads to the Governor.