Dental loan repayment gets backing

File photo
File photo (jamsession/SXC)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Senate Health Policy Committee on Monday approved three bills dealing with dental care, including a measure (SB 716) that would create a student-loan repayment program for dentists who are willing to practice in areas with dental-care shortages.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater, would provide up to $50,000 per year for each eligible dentist. It also would create a program that would establish a network of volunteer dentists and other providers who would offer dental services to low-income, disabled and elderly people.

The committee also approved a bill (SB 648), sponsored by Sen. Debbie Mayfield, R-Rockledge, that would make clear dentists, similar to other prescribers, would have to take two hours of continuing education to prescribe controlled substances.

Also, the committee gave the nod to a bill (SB 374), sponsored by committee Chairwoman Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, that would add a representative of the Florida Dental Association to the Children and Youth Cabinet.