The Wisconsin Dental Association today released the following statement from WDA President Dr. Chris Hansen (Manitowoc), who joined Gov. Tony Evers, lawmakers and other advocates at Northcentral Technical College Center for Health Sciences in Wausau this morning as the governor signed an important package of oral health legislation into law.

“On behalf of the more than 3,100 members of the Wisconsin Dental Association, I cannot begin to thank Gov. Evers, State Sen. Mary Felzkowski and all of our partners in the Legislature for working in a bipartisan manner to get this dental package over the finish line.

“The shortage of dental hygienists and trained dental assistants has become a critical issue in our state, affecting the availability of dental care for all. The combined legislative approach will expand access and affordability to oral healthcare in several ways.

“It will expand capacity for dental hygiene and dental assistant education at our technical colleges across Wisconsin and encourage new dentists to practice in rural settings through the Marquette University Rural Scholarship Program. It will streamline the licensure process to attract dentists and dental hygienists from nearby states to practice across state lines in our border communities – or, even better, to move to Wisconsin with a more portable license. And it will institute critical insurance reforms to lower barriers that limit consumer choice for dental care.

“Today is great day for oral health in Wisconsin. We thank Gov. Evers, Sen. Felzkowski and all of the lawmakers who helped make these new laws a reality. The Wisconsin Dental Association is fortunate to have partners like them.

“Dental care IS essential health care!”

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