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J Dent Hyg. 2014 Dec;88(6):364-72.

Perceptions of Kansas Extended Care Permit dental hygienists' impact on dental care.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

In 2003, Kansas addressed their access to oral health care needs with amended state dental practice act for registered dental hygienists. The Extended Care Permits (ECP) I, II and III have expanded the dental hygiene scope of practice, allowing dental hygienists to provide oral care to Kansans in different settings beyond the dental office. The purpoase of this study was to examine the perceptions of Kansas ECP dental hygienists on change to oral care in Kansas.

METHODS:

A questionnaire was mailed to all ECP dental hygienists (n=158) registered with the Kansas Dental Board. Questions were open-ended, close-ended and Likert scale. Information was sought regarding demographics, areas of employment, work related activities and impact to oral health care. Study exclusions included ECP providers no longer practicing in Kansas, practice more than 50% in another state or no longer practice dental hygiene at all.

RESULTS:

A total of 69 surveys were returned, with 9 surveys excluded for exclusion criteria. Most respondents (92%) agreed the ECP is a solution to oral health care access issues in Kansas. Barriers to utilizing their permits fully included: difficulty locating a sponsoring dentist (12%), locating start up finances (22%), limited work space (14%) and difficulty with facility administrators (39%). Many respondents (62%) agreed the proposed registered dental practitioner would improve access to oral health care to Kansans.

CONCLUSION:

The Extended Care Permit providers in Kansas appear to be satisfied with their current employment situations and feel oral health care has improved for their patients served but they are unable to utilize their permits fully for various reasons.

KEYWORDS:

access to care; dental hygienist; dental workforce; extended care permit

PMID:
25534689
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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