Honolulu, Hawaii



RE:    S.B. No. 344

       S.D. 1




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Twenty-Ninth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2017

State of Hawaii




     Your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health, to which was referred S.B. No. 344 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose and intent of this measure is to:


     (1)  Clarify the allowable and prohibited practices requirements for dental assistants; and


     (2)  Prohibit persons from employing, directing, or ordering a dental assistant or other person to perform services or procedures within the scope of practice of dental hygiene.


     Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Hawaii Dental Hygienists' Association and eighteen individuals.  Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Board of Dental Examiners, Hawaii Dental Association, and thirty-eight individuals.


     Your Committee finds that licensed and registered dentists are permitted under existing law to employ auxiliary personnel, known as dental assistants, to assist a dentist in the dentist's practice.  Like dental hygienists, dental assistants are a valuable part of a dental team, and each team member plays a critical role in the execution of outstanding patient care.  However, existing law does not currently contain licensure or educational requirements or standardized training for dental assistants.  It is therefore not appropriate for dental assistants to be expected or required to perform duties, activities, or functions that, if performed by a dental hygienist, would require licensure.


     Your Committee notes that it is the Legislature who determines duty and scope of practice for licensed professionals in the State.  Therefore, your Committee does not believe it is appropriate for the Board of Dental Examiners to adopt rules that attempt to circumvent or infringe upon the legislatively-determined parameters regarding duty and scope of practice for other licensed professionals within the Board's purview.  Thus, your Committee emphasizes that if the Board desires to change the scope of practice for auxiliary personnel, the Board must approach the Legislature to request such a change.


     Your Committee has amended this measure by:


     (1)  Clarifying that additional duties of dental assistants and regulatory directives may be delineated by rule; provided that those rules shall not infringe upon, overlap with, or conflict with the duties and scope of practice for any other licensed professional; and


     (2)  Updating the purpose section.


     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 344, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 344, S.D. 1, and be placed on the calendar for Third Reading.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health,