A year ago, the Rio Grande Foundation had an article published around the state outlining some of the amazing public policy successes happening in neighboring Arizona. At the time we said that New Mexico policymakers could learn a lot from their peers in Arizona.
That situation hasn’t changed much in the past year. In fact, Arizona recently adopted a middle tier dental professional level called “dental therapy” which will allow for licensing of a new group of trained professionals to fill in the gaps left behind by a shortage of dentists in many areas and dental hygienists who don’t have the training or professional freedom to offer services like fillings and crowns.
Anyway, the law enacting just such a reform in Arizona was signed recently by Doug Ducey.
Dental therapy is a tried-and-true bi-partisan solution to the lack of dentists in rural and often impoverished areas. Unfortunately, despite support from Gov. Susana Martinez, the dysfunctional New Mexico Legislature has refused to embrace dental therapy.