RD220 - Services Provided by Virginia Department of Health Dental Hygienists Pursuant to a “Remote Supervision” Protocol

Executive Summary:

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 protocol from pilot to established program is detailed in prior VDH annual reports on the General Assembly's Legislative Information System website.

Legislative changes have enabled VDH dental hygienists to provide preventive dental services without the general or direct supervision of a dentist. The remote supervision model offers an effective alternative method of delivery for safety-net dental program services that increases access for underserved populations and reduces barriers and costs.

This report summarizes the burden of relevant oral disease statewide and documents the services provided by the dental hygienists and dental assistants employed by VDH under the remote supervision protocol that target these needs.

All clinical and school-based services for children were cancelled in FY21 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, school closures, and restricted local health district services. However, the remote supervision workforce stepped up as adjunctive staff continuing to contribute to the VDH COVID-19 response efforts in local health districts.

In FY22, school-based and clinic-based services are expected to resume with appropriate protocol modifications. Several assistants to the hygienists resigned during the pandemic as their hours were significantly constrained. Full capacity production will be impacted in the coming school year until replacement recruitment can be completed.