WDHA Policy Statements

  • Administrative
  • Member Services
  • Public Health
  • Government
  • Education
  • Public Relations

These policy statements have been voted on at the annual House Of Delegates (HOD) meeting. Resolutions are brought forth from the Board of Trustees, Councils, Committees, and Officers, ADHA delegates or individual members for debate, discussion, amendments, and adoption. The notation at the end of each policy statement is the resolution number and the year it was adopted. If there have been revisions to the statement, more than one notation may be seen.

E.g., R10-99 means that this policy statement was the tenth resolution at the 1999 HOD.

R15-01/R5-02 means that this statement was made into a policy at the 2001 HOD and revised at the 2002 HOD.

Wisconsin Dental Hygienists’ Association Policies 2011-1975

FINANCE

The WDHA annually place 10% of projected dues revenue into reserves. R4-92
The WDHA invest ten percent (10%) of Bulletin and Continuing Education net revenues into restricted reserves annually R9-94/R16-95

GOVERNANCE

The WDHA accept a proxy voting power when a trustee cannot attend a board meeting. R1-78
The WDHA recommends that all ADHA delegates and alternate delegates attend the ADHA Annual
Session with expenses paid as directed by the WDHA Bylaws. R5-81/R21-96
The WDHA support sending an additional alternate delegate to ADHA Annual Session if budget allows. R14-97
The WDHA support sending delegates to the pre-ADHA Annual Session District VII meeting. R15-97
The WDHA establish a Political Action Committee R6-78/R19-97
The WDHA adopt the ADHA new Code of Ethics. R1-98 (Complete text at the end of WDHA bylaws) The WDHA standing committees are Audit, Annual Session, Bylaws/Resolutions, Budget, Continuing
Education, Education and Practice, Financial Resources, Governmental Relations, Membership, Nominating, Public Health, and Public Relations. R6-93/R14-95/R16-96/R6-98/R7-98
WDHA amend its current Vision Statement, Key Strategic Values and Goals as follows:
Vision Statement
WDHA is respected and recognized as the professional dental hygiene organization in Wisconsin that partners with ADHA; informs, guides and assists its members in their efforts to achieve true and complete professional status through self-regulation, collaboration, life-long learning, community outreach and service and with a strong ethical foundation.

Key Strategic Values:

1. Professionalism
2. Service
3. Ethics

Goals

1. Promote membership and participation
2. Encourage public awareness of and access to services of dental hygiene professionals
3. Serve as the authoritative resource for the profession of dental hygiene
R22-01 / R13-03
The Wisconsin Dental Hygienists’ Association Conduit Trust Fund – Wisconsin Bylaws be reinstated. R14-03
The WDHA endorse ADHA as it declares its intent to be the credentialing authority for the dental hygiene profession beyond initial licensure. R7-06

The WDHA establish the following Councils: Administrative, Member Services, Public Health, Government, Education, and Public Relations.R3-94/R5-98/R23-02/R14-06

MEMBERSHIP

The WDHA’s Outstanding Service Award be renamed the Carol B. Benson Memorial Outstanding Service to
Dental Hygiene Award. R7-93
The WDHA supports the ADHA policy that requires SADHA advisors to be voting members of ADHA R3-99
The WDHA declare inactive the Waukesha Component (06). R12-01
The WDHA supports diversity within the profession of dental hygiene. R2-03
The WDHA Membership Council work to include member and non-member dental hygienists as active participants in organized dental hygiene. R5-09
The WDHA is an inclusive organization. We value the differences within our membership and we recognize that diversity adds value to our organization, our mission and the quality of our programs and services.
R10-11

RESEARCH

The WDHA advocates research, development, and utilization of emerging technologies that maximize human health and safety. R6-97
The WDHA supports the following definitions for the Dental Hygiene Process:

Assessment: The systematic collection and analysis of data in order to identify client* needs. *Client may refer to individuals, families, groups, or communities as defined in the ADHA Framework for Theory Development.

Diagnosis: The identification of client strengths and oral health problems that dental hygiene interventions can improve.

Planning: The establishment of realistic goals and the selection of dental hygiene interventions that can move the client closer to optimal oral health.

Informed Consent: The process by which a fully informed patient can participate in choices about his/her health care.

Implementation: The act of carrying out the dental hygiene plan of care.

Evaluation: The measurement of the extent to which the client has achieved the goals specified in the plan. Judgments to continue, discontinue, or modify the dental hygiene plan of care.

Documentation: The complete and accurate recording of all collected data, treatment planned and provided, recommendations, and other information relevant to patient care and treatment. R9-97/R3-10

The WDHA supports the purpose of the Oral Health Institute and that WDHA encourages its components and individual members to support it. R4-89/R2-01

REGULATION AND PRACTICE

The WDHA supports certification for dental assistants in Wisconsin. R3-78
The WDHA recommends that permitted and prohibited practices for dental assistants be specified within the Wisconsin Administrative Code. R3-82
The WDHA encourages all dental hygienists to support the current guidelines of OSHA and CDC recommendations in the handling of infectious waste. R5-89

The WDHA supports the role of the dental hygienist as the Infection Control Leader/Hazard Communication Leader in the dental office. R7-90
The WDHA supports third party payments for covered services, performed by dental hygienists that are legally within the scope of dental hygiene practice. R9-90
The WDHA support the use of the Dental Assisting National Board as one avenue of verifiable on-the-job training competency for unlicensed persons. R4-91
The WDHA supports self-regulation for the profession of Dental Hygiene. R9-92
The WDHA supports complying with or exceeding the Center for Disease Control recommendations and guidelines for exposure control and hazard communication to comply with or exceed federal, state and local regulatory agencies in providing safe environment for dental personnel and patients. R5-92
The WDHA approve and support the Wisconsin Dental Hygiene Act R5-93
The WDHA adopts the following definition of a dental hygienist: A preventive oral health professional who has graduated from an accredited dental hygiene program in an institution of higher education, licensed in dental hygiene, who provides educational, clinical, research, administrative, and therapeutic services supporting total health through the promotion of optimal oral health. R3-84/R2-95
The WDHA adopts the following definition of dental hygiene: The science and practice of the recognition, treatment, and prevention of oral diseases. The profession of the dental hygienist. R4-84/R1-95
The WDHA advocates that dental hygiene license holders be prepared to show proof of current certification in Basic
Life Support – Health Care Provider Level as a requirement for license renewal. R11-87/R11-96/R20-02
The WDHA supports and encourages voluntary continuing education for personal and professional growth. R1-85/SR2-96
The WDHA supports remediable procedures for unlicensed persons be specified within the Wisconsin
Statutes and Administrative Codes. SR26-96
The WDHA support the appointment of consumers and the proportionate representation of dental hygienists as full voting and policy-making members of boards that regulate dental hygiene. R5-97
The WDHA, due to increased latex sensitivity and allergies, supports the elimination of latex products, provided there are viable alternatives. R2-98
The WDHA supports polishing the clinical crown as a selective procedure and not a routine part of an
oral prophylaxis, and that the decision to polish a patient’s / client’s teeth should be based on the assessment
of the patient’s / client’s needs, treatment plan and informed consent. R3-98
The WDHA recognizes that the dental hygienist is accountable both legally and ethically for the quality of
dental hygiene services and the client’s oral health care as it relates to dental hygiene practice. R17-01
The WDHA supports licensure and regulation of the practice of dental hygiene. R21-01
The WDHA supports broadening the scope of dental hygiene practice though the Wisconsin Statutes and Administrative Code Relating to the Practice of Dentistry and Dental Hygiene to meet the health care needs of the public. This would enable the dental hygienist to provide preventive, educational and therapeutic services to all people. R18-01

The WDHA supports continuing education for inclusion in the rules of the Wisconsin Dentistry Examining
Board as a requirement for license renewal. R6-01/R19-02
The WDHA affirm the ADHA policy regarding the following terms be used to provide a common vocabulary in discussing the business arrangements of dental hygiene practice:

Employee Practitioner

A dental hygienist who provides dental hygiene treatment as an employee in accordance with state dental hygiene/dental practice acts

Independent contractor

A dental hygienist who has a business arrangement, consistent with Internal Revenue Service and state requirements, whereby s/he contracts to provide dental hygiene treatment in accordance with state dental hygiene / dental practice acts.

Independent practitioner

A dental hygienist who provides dental hygiene services to the public without the specific authorization of a dentist through direct agreement with each client in accordance with the state dental hygiene/dental practice acts.
R1-87/R1-03
The WDHA supports general supervision as the entry level of supervision for dental hygienists performing traditional dental hygiene functions. R9-84/R18-03
The WDHA endorses that a dental hygienist perform a head and neck examination as an integral component of every comprehensive oral health assessment. R3-03
The WDHA supports expanding access to preventive and restorative care within the dental hygiene scope of practice. R5-03
The WDHA encourages all dental hygienists to support the current guidelines of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) in the handling of patient records and confidentiality. R16-03
The WDHA support dental hygienists in the responsibility to educate the public on the risks of smokeless tobacco usage and those dental hygienists are vigilant in detecting early mucosal lesions. R2-86 (referred to Tobacco Cessation Committee R5-06)
The WDHA supports National Licensure Portability (NLP) for licensed dental hygienists. NLP would require the individual to be a graduate of an accredited dental hygiene program, and hold a current dental hygiene license. R8-90/R1-07
The WDHA supports direct access to a dental hygienist in all practice settings. R4-97/R4-00/R11-01/R2-07
The WDHA advocates that licensed dental hygienists determine the need for and administer preventive and therapeutic agents. Dental hygienists will act as educators regarding the benefits of such agents. R6-83/R30-
96/R7-04/R6-04/R4-07
The WDHA adopts the definition of Mid–level Oral Health Practitioner: A licensed dental hygienist who has graduated from an accredited dental hygiene program and who provides primary oral health care directly to patients to promote and restore oral health through assessment, diagnosis, treatment, evaluation and referral services. The Mid-level Oral Health Practitioner has met the educational requirements to provide services within an expanded scope of care, and practices under regulations set forth by the appropriate licensing agency. R1-10

The WDHA adopts the following definition of Interdisciplinary Care: Two or more healthcare providers working within their respective disciplines who collaborate with the patient and/or caregiver to develop and implement
a care plan. R2-10
The WDHA adopts the definition of Professional Autonomy: Professional Autonomy: a profession’s authority
and responsibility for its own standards of education, regulation, practice, licensure and discipline. R4-10
The WDHA supports quality assurance systems. R5-10
The WDHA advocates the inclusion of dental hygienists in the development of federal, state and local policies that support improved oral health and wellness. R8-10
The WDHA adopts the following definition of Needs Assessment: A systematic process to acquire an accurate, thorough analysis of a system’s strengths and weaknesses, in order to improve this process to meet existing and future needs. R1-11
The WDHA adopts the following definition of Collaborative Practice: An agreement that empowers the dental hygienist to establish a cooperative working relationship with other health care providers in the provision of patient care. R5-11
The WDHA recommends the addition of oral health diagnostic codes in conjunction with procedure codes as part of the federally mandated and standardized code sets in oral health care to improve diagnosis, prevention and treatment of oral health diseases and conditions. R6-11
The WDHA supports qualified dental hygienists, (i) owning and operating dental hygiene practices, (ii) entering into provider agreements and (iii) receiving direct and third party payments for services rendered, so long as such activities are undertaken in accordance with applicable state law. R7-11
The WDHA adopts the following definitions regarding payment:

  • Direct payment: The dental hygienist is the direct recipient of payment for services rendered.
  • Third-Party Payment: the dental hygienist receives payment by someone other than the beneficiary for services rendered. R8-11

The WDHA adopts the following definition of Diversity: An inclusion of varied characteristics, ideas and world views in a community. R9-11

The WDHA upholds that dental hygienists are ethically and legally directly responsible and directly accountable for the quality of the services they provide. R11-11

EDUCATION

The WDHA unanimously supports the membership of a dental hygienist on the WDEB with full voting privileges with the following qualification criteria: 1. The hygienist has demonstrated an interest and participated in organized dental hygiene activities, 2. The hygienist is currently licensed to practice in the State of Wisconsin, 3. The hygienist will have practiced in the state of Wisconsin for five (5) years and is currently engaged in the practice of dental hygiene. R1-75
The WDHA recognizes dental hygiene as a profession. R7-82
The WDHA supports the standard that all RDH educators be active members of ADHA. R2-87
The WDHA support the eligibility of Associate Degree Dental Hygiene education of R.D.H. candidates at the
Associate Degree Level. R8-87

The WDHA advocates that RDH CE speakers who are members of ADHA be given scheduling preference over those who are not. R12-87/R18-02
The WDHA opposes all forms of preceptor training for dental hygienists and for dental hygiene procedures. R1-88
The WDHA supports the practice of dental hygiene only by licensed registered dental hygienists, who have graduated from an accredited dental hygiene program. R3-90
The WDHA support the Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene, obtained from an accredited program, as an appropriate and educationally sound minimum requirement for entry into the practice of dental hygiene. R8-87
/SR32-96
The WDHA supports basic science and applied research in the investigation of health promotion/disease prevention and theoretical frameworks, which form the basis for education and practice. R7-96
The WDHA recognizes the pursuit of advanced degrees by registered dental hygienists as an avenue for professional development. R31-96/R17-02
The WDHA support the following statements regarding Certificate and/or Associate Degree Dental Hygiene
Programs:
1. Programs offering certificates and/or associate degrees should provide an education consistent with the associate degree standards of higher education. The certificate and/or associate degree curriculum should be conducted at an educational level that includes a minimum of two years of dental hygiene program of which is accredited by a national agency recognized by the United States Department of Education, and/or an appropriate national voluntary agency. This education level
should allow for admission to four-year colleges and/or universities at the upper division level.
2. The curricula should allow for integration of all liberal arts, biomedical sciences, oral health sciences and dental hygiene sciences content and shall provide a theoretical framework as well as mechanisms for achieving clinical competence when appropriate for all aspects of dental hygiene practice.
3. Certificate and or associate degree programs are encouraged to develop academic partnerships or articulation agreements with four year colleges and/or universities to allow the development of integrated baccalaureate degree dental hygiene curricula. R11-97
The WDHA support the following statements regarding Baccalaureate Degree Dental Hygiene Programs:
1. Programs offering baccalaureate degree should provide an education consistent with standards in higher education. The baccalaureate curriculum should be conducted at a level, which allows for admission to university graduate programs. The curriculum should incorporate a substantive body of knowledge in the social, behavioral, and biological sciences a prerequisite for entrance into advance disciplines.
2. Baccalaureate programs conferring the Bachelor of Science degree in dental hygiene should provide advanced knowledge and skills in dental hygiene. These services shall be determined by projected oral health needs, potential for the dental hygienist to provide services to meet these needs and the ability of the dental hygiene program to provide instruction in these areas.
3. The curricula should allow for biomedical sciences, oral health sciences and dental hygiene science content and shall provide a theoretical framework for all aspects of dental hygiene practice.
4. Baccalaureate degree programs are encouraged to develop four year integrated dental hygiene curricula. R12-97
The WDHA support the following statements regarding Master’s Degree Programs in Dental Hygiene.
1. Master’s degree programs in dental hygiene should be at an educational level equivalent to
master’s degree programs in other disciplines and allow further pursuit of advanced degrees.

2. Curricula should be designed to provide dental hygienists with advanced concepts in social, behavioral, and biological sciences and dental hygiene practice. They should provide graduates with the skills necessary to contribute to the expansion of the dental hygiene body of knowledge through research. R13-97
The WDHA, in order to promote high quality dental hygiene care, develop position papers on best practices in dental hygiene, to be reviewed and revised on a regular basis and encourage Wisconsin dental hygienists to continually strive to achieve excellence in their practices. R6-99/R16-02
The WDHA adopt the definition of “Position Paper” as a written document that summarizes the organization’s viewpoint on a specific topic, which includes supporting research. The purpose is to communicate to members and external audiences. R3-00
The WDHA advocates that dental hygiene educational programs be administered or directed only by educationally qualified licensed dental hygienists. R5-00
The WDHA opposes reduction of educational standards, and or requirements for licensure of dental hygienists. R19-01
The WDHA supports the development and implementation of flexibly scheduled and / or technologically advanced educational delivery systems only when clinical, didactic, and laboratory education is provided within an accredited dental hygiene program. R5-99/R14-01
The WDHA adopt the following definition of Accreditation: A formal, voluntary, non-governmental process that establishes a minimum of national standards which promote and assure quality in educational institutions and programs and serves as a mechanism to protect the public. R13-01
The WDHA supports that the eligibility requirements for the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam administered by the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations be limited to graduates of accredited programs and graduation-eligible students of accredited dental hygiene programs. R20-01/R10-03
The WDHA advocates loan forgiveness programs for licensed dental hygienists who provide dental hygiene services to underserved sectors of the population. R4-03
Advanced – Practice Dental Hygienist: A dental hygienist who has graduated from an accredited dental hygiene program and has completed the advanced educational curriculum approved by the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, which prepares the dental hygienist to provide diagnostic, preventive, restorative and therapeutic serviced directly to the public. R2-04
The WDHA promotes cooperative continuing education efforts among other health disciplines to promote exchange of information and to foster a multidisciplinary approach to preventative care. R13-06
The WDHA supports a standardized educational curriculum developed by the American Dental Hygienists’
Association (ADHA) for the advanced dental hygiene practitioner. R3-04/R6-07
The WDHA proposed the following definition of dental triage: The process of identifying and prioritizing the treatment and referral needs of persons with oral diseases or injuries according the seriousness of the condition. R4-04/R6-07
The WDHA supports the recruitment of qualified applicants for accredited dental hygiene programs. R1-
90/R10-96/R7-07
The WDHA advocates mandatory continuing education as a requirement for dental hygiene licensure. R9-
91/R12-96/R8-07
The WDHA affirms continuing education as one method of personal and professional growth. R1-09

The WDHA supports the initiation of new dental hygiene programs when:

  • The proposed program has conducted a comprehensive evidence-based needs assessment to support the development and sustainability of the program. It is further documented that an existing institution of higher education cannot meet these needs.
  • There is documented evidence-based, ongoing manpower need that cannot be met by currently licensed dental hygienists in the region.
  • There is a demonstrated qualified applicant pool.
  • There is a potential patient pool.
  • The program offers an integrated curriculum that culminates in baccalaureate degree in dental hygiene.
  • The program has financial resources to initiate and maintain dental hygiene educational standards.
  • The program is endorsed by the component and constituent dental hygienist associations, community partners and potential employers.
  • The program meets or exceeds accreditation requirements prior to the acceptance of students.

PUBLIC HEALTH

The WDHA recognizes that dental hygiene is the health profession which in cooperation with other allied professions provides services to promote optimal oral health for the public. R8-91
The WDHA and its Components establish and support activities for National Dental Hygiene Month. R3-89/ R20-96
The WDHA supports nutritional guidelines and programs that promote total health and encourages media advertising and public education that promote healthy eating habits and wellness. R5-96
The WDHA supports recognized professional and consumer groups in their efforts to ban misleading advertising and unsubstantiated claims connected with health care products. R8-96
The WDHA opposes misleading advertising and unsubstantiated claims connected with oral health care products and services. R9-96
The WDHA supports utilizing the services provided by dental hygienists in community health programming. R14-96
The WDHA recognizes that the academic preparation of dental hygienists enables them to work in and evaluate community based programs and facilities. R15-96
The WDHA advocates a multiple approach to the prevention of dental caries in all oral health care programs and settings. R7-95/R7-97
The WDHA advocates continued increased funding for preventive programs designed to provide health services to under-served sectors of the population. R8-97
The WDHA advocates the development of community based comprehensive oral health programs. R1-99
The WDHA endorses early assessment, education and preventive intervention for infants and children beginning at age one or within six months of initial tooth eruption. R1-00/R6-02
The WDHA adopt the definition of “optimal oral health’ as a standard of health of the oral and related tissues which enables an individual to eat, speak and socialize without active disease, discomfort or embarrassment, and which contributes to general well-being and overall total health. R2-00

The WDHA recognizes the priority of children, pregnant women, the elderly and persons who are developmentally, physically, mentally or medically compromised and advocates the inclusion of comprehensive oral health services in the design of health care programs. R6-00
The WDHA supports the following:

1. Interdisciplinary preventive and therapeutic care for the developmentally, physically, mentally and / or medically compromised.

2. Promotion of public and professional awareness of the need for this care.

3. The encouragement of public funding and their party payments for such services. R7-00

The WDHA supports the following dental health objectives, which confirm our commitment to care.
WDHA objectives for health promotion and disease prevention are similar to those established by the United States Public Health Services, which include:

  • Ensuring an adequate supply of appropriately educated Registered Dental Hygienists.
  • Assuring that preventive dental hygiene care reaches all segments of the population, including all age, race, ethnic, disabled, handicapped, medically compromised and socioeconomic groups.
  • Improving oral health care in long-term care institutions and facilities.
  • Teaching prevention of oral diseases in all elementary and secondary schools.
  • Ensuring that graduates of all health care programs can demonstrate knowledge of prevention of oral disease.
  • Providing a continuing education mechanism for teachers and all health care providers to expand their knowledge of preventing and controlling oral disease.
  • Supporting the optimal use of fluorides in drinking water to ensure maximum benefits while minimizing the risk of dental fluorosis.
  • Advocating the delivery of fluoride treatments and sealants by a Registered Dental Hygienist in a school or public health setting as well as the development of tobacco cessation programs.
  • Increase practice settings to assure access to preventive, educational and therapeutic oral services. R6-93 / R9-01

The WDHA advocates that dental hygienists, as health care professionals are responsible for taking appropriate action in suspected abuse and neglect cases. R3-97/R16-01
The WDHA supports the utilization of dental hygienists in response to catastrophic events. R6-03
The WDHA supports legislation granting immunity to dental hygienists when responding to any disaster or emergency situation, so declared by an appropriate authority. R8-03
The WDHA advocates that dental hygienists are qualified to play an active role in the recognition of oral manifestations of eating disorders, assessment of oral risk factors, education, and referral for care. R9-03
The WDHA advocates that it work cooperatively with state and local dental associations and allied organizations for the enactment and continuation of statewide fluoridation programs. R2-81/R2-03
The WDHA believes that dental hygienists measure and record blood pressure on all patients as part of conducting a thorough health history. R8-01/R12-03
The WDHA advocates the creation of an Advanced – Practice Dental Hygienist who provides diagnostic, preventive, restorative and therapeutic services directly to the public. R1-04/R6-07
The WDHA supports registered dental hygienists performing primary assessments (dental triage) as a regular part of the dental hygiene process of care. R5-04
The WDHA supports the use of effective mouth and head protection for participants during sports and other activities where there is a risk of dental and/or craniofacial injuries. R7-04

The WDHA supports the final report of the Governor’s Task Force to Improve Access to Oral Health. R1-05
The WDHA defines the term “evidence-based dental hygiene” as follows: Evidence-based dental hygiene (EBDH) is an approach to oral health care that requires the collection and integration of systematic assessments of clinically relevant scientific evidence, relating to the patient’s oral and systemic health status and history, with the dental hygienist’s clinical expertise and the patient’s treatment needs and preferences. R1-06
The WDHA recognize and participates in coalitions that work to bring optimal health and total oral health to the public. R8-06
The WDHA is aware of substance misuse, abuse or addiction and supports the education, information and referral for those with these health problems. R12-06
The WDHA supports education on the risks associated with tobacco use. R6-90/R8-95/R9-95/R13-96/R10-07
The WDHA supports efforts on behalf of dental professionals assuring treatment provided minimizes any allergic risk to the public and providers. R2-09
The WDHA supports consumer awareness by advocating labeling of all products having potential adverse effects on oral/systemic health. R6-10
The WDHA advocates prevention and cessation of tobacco use and the involvement of dental hygienists in tobacco intervention initiatives. R7-10
The WDHA supports programs informing stakeholders of the scope of dental hygiene practice and its contribution to health in collaboration with health care delivery providers.R9-10
The WDHA advocates the development of evidence-based comprehensive community oral health programs. R10-10
The WDHA advocates delivery of evidence-based dental hygiene services by licensed dental hygienists in all settings. R11-10
The WDHA advocates for education about and the use of xylitol for its preventive and therapeutic benefits against oral disease. R12-10
The WDHA adopts the following definition of Dental Public Health Settings: Any setting where population- based, community-focused oral health interventions can be used and evaluated as a means to prevent or control disease. R2-11
The WDHA adopts the following definition of At Risk Population: A community or group of people whose social or physical determinants, environmental factors, or personal behaviors increase their probability of developing disease. R3-11