Tribal Dental Therapy Legislation in the States

State Authorizes Tribal Dental Therapy with CODA Standards
State Authorizes Tribal Dental Therapy with Additional Requirements or Limitations
State is Considering Authorizing Dental Therapy
State Does Not Authorize Dental Therapy

As sovereign nations, Tribes should have the ability to determine their own oral healthcare delivery models independent of state supervision. Unfortunately, a provision of federal law presents a barrier.

Click here to read Section 25 U.S.C. § 1616l (d).

As the law states, Tribes must get permission from their states if they wish to hire a dental therapist under the expanded CHAP. This puts Tribes in an unusual position: Tribal health care is a federal responsibility, not a state one. On this issue, Congress has inappropriately delegated responsibility for Tribal healthcare to the states with no Tribal input. Despite the law’s ambiguity and the burden it places on Tribes, a remedy by Congress is unlikely in the short term.

Nevertheless, Tribal leaders know this is an urgent situation. Tribes across the country have taken to their statehouses to argue for their right to utilize dental therapists. The Tribal Oral Health Initiative has taken a leading role in coordinating this advocacy. This map shows the current status of state legislation impacting Tribal dental therapy.

Click on your state to see an analysis of how state law or legislation currently being considered impacts Tribal dental therapy.

National Indian Health Board
50 F St NW, Suite 600 | Washington, DC 20001 | Phone: 202-507-4070 | Email: [email protected]