After taking the Virginia jurisprudence exam to be licensed by my sixth state in 18 years of dental hygiene practice, I couldn`t believe your cover (April) and, as a career military spouse, "I feel your pain!" I must commend the Commonwealth of Virginia, before whom I now have an application for licensure by endorsement, for their "criteria in determining need for professional regulation, as stated under §54.1-2409.2 in the Virginia Code, which I quote and recommend as a valid criteria for other states to consider:
- "Promotion of effective health outcomes and protection of the public from harm.
- "Accountability of health regulatory bodies to the public.
- "Promotion of consumers` access to a competent health care provider workforce.
- "Encouragement of a flexible, rational, cost-effective health care system that allows effective working relationships among health care providers.
- "Facilitation of professional and geographic mobility of competent providers.
- "Minimization of unreasonable or anti-competitive requirements that produce no demonstrable benefit."
We all agree with the need to ensure the professional competence of health care providers, acknowledge the jurisdictions with expanded functions, and additional training and regulation required in those cases.
However, each time we move I ask myself, "Why didn`t I get an RN instead of a RDH degree?" It makes no sense that I am barred from practicing from one state to the next for the sake of state`s rights. It would seem the cry of state`s rights is, as much now as it was during the Civl War era, about the power of the elite over those whom they control, and a detriment to individuals` rights. Licensure by endorsement or reciprocity is not going to threaten the welfare of the public (does preceptorship have public welfare at heart?). Is the public (and the dentists experiencing hygienist shortages) well served by denying practice to a professional who must relocate? This is one hygienist who hopes to see reform in national licensure recognition in her professional lifetime.
Jana M. Smith, RDH