On January 15, 2009, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law Chapter 530 of the Acts of 2008 which among other things, created a public health dental hygienist (PHDH) category of dental professional. According to Chapter 530, a public health dental hygienist is a practicing "registered dental hygienist who may perform in a public health setting, without the supervision or direction of a dentist, any procedure or provide any service that is within the scope of his practice and that has been authorized and adopted by the board as a delegable procedure for dental hygienists in private practice under general supervision."

A public health dental hygienist must have "at least 3 years of full-time clinical experience who is practicing full or part time in a public health setting pursuant to section 51 and who has received appropriate training as determined by the department of public health."

According to Chapter 530, "a qualified registered dental hygienist who has a written collaborative agreement w/a licensed dentist or local or state agency or other institution where a dentist is available to provide the appropriate level of communication and consultation with the hygienist may practice in a public health setting including, but not be limited to, the following: residences of the homebound; schools; nursing homes and long-term care facilities; clinics, hospitals, medical facilities, community health centers and mobile and portable dental health programs licensed or certified by the department of public health; Head Start programs; and other facilities or programs deemed appropriate by the department of public health."

Chapter 530 also authorized public health dental hygienists to be "directly reimbursed for services administered in a public health setting by MassHealth or the commonwealth care health insurance program…"


This information is provided by the Oral Health within the Department of Public Health.