Providing and Protecting Volunteer Dentists

New laws in the Midwest remove disincentives for retired dentists to volunteer their services to low-cost clinics.
by | June 20, 2011 AT 1:45 PM

Up until this month, retired dentists in Michigan who offered their services for free had to fear getting sued and paying for potentially expensive legal costs with their own money. This surely discouraged some from volunteering and did not make it easier for low-income individuals and families to get dental care. But a new law recently signed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder gives protections, similar to ones physicians and podiatrists already have, to retired dentists who have a voluntary license, according to a news release. And in Illinois, a new law will allow clinics that employ volunteer dentists to be reimbursed for fees, according to a release. Previously, clinics were only reimbursed for volunteer care if the dentists were enrolled with Medicaid. Because now only the clinic needs to be enrolled, more dollars, which can be spent on dental supplies or equipment, will flow into nonprofit health clinics.