RD365 - 2016 Report to the General Assembly on Services Provided by Virginia Department of Health Dental Hygienists Pursuant to a “Remote Supervision” Protocol
The program for Virginia Department of Health (VDH) dental hygienist services provided under a “remote supervision” protocol was first established in 2009. The evolution of the “remote supervision” protocol from pilot to established program is detailed in prior VDH annual reports on the General Assembly’s Legislative Information System website.
This legislative action has enabled VDH dental hygienists to provide preventive dental services without the general or direct supervision of a dentist. This effort has improved access to preventive dental services for those at highest risk of dental disease, as well as reduced barriers and costs for dental care for low-income individuals. This report summarizes the burden of relevant oral disease statewide as updated by the 2014 Virginia 3rd Grade Basic Screening Survey and documents the services provided in FY16 by the dental hygienists and dental assistants employed by VDH under the “remote supervision” protocol.
In FY16, 4,363 children returned a permission form and were screened by a dental hygienist in a school-based setting; 8,328 sealants and 6,272 fluoride varnish applications were provided in initial and recheck visits. A total of 1,386 children were identified as having other oral health needs and referred to community providers. In clinic settings, through the VDH “Bright Smiles for Babies” (BSB) program, 7,074 infants and children were screened, and 6,692 fluoride varnish applications were provided. In FY16, the combined “remote supervision” hygienist workforce provided clinical services with a market value exceeding $2.5 million in 16 VDH health districts. As this and previous reports indicate, the remote supervision model offers an effective alternative method of delivery for safety net dental program services that increases access for underserved populations.