The New York State Dental Association achieved a major victory in May when Governor Pataki signed into law its “PGY1” legislation, otherwise known as S.5386a/A.6065b.
In addition to the State Education Department, NYSDA was supported in its lobbying efforts by the New York State Academic Dental Centers, a coalition of the state’s dental schools, as well as by the Upstate Program Directors Group and the American Association of Hospital Dentists.
NYSDA President Brian Kennedy notes that New York is the only state to adopt legislation with such sweeping reform to dental licensure.
“Due to the bipartisan support this bill received, it is apparent that our elected officials understand our goal—to elevate the level of training of the profession to protect dentists and the public,” said Dr. Kennedy. “This follows the medical model for licensure, and treating dentists the same as physicians seemed logical to the Senate, Assembly and the Governor.”
NYSDA asserted that the one-shot examination performed on a volunteer patient, is fraught with difficulties which, through no fault of the dental student and bearing no relation to his or her skills as a dentist, can cause the student to fail the examination. Often the patient is nervous or otherwise uneasy about being the subject of a student’s licensing examination and this can have a negative effect on the dental student’s performance, again without any relation or bearing as to the student’s competency.
Since 2003, New York was the only state to offer dental students the option to complete an accredited postgraduate dental training program in lieu of Part III of the dental licensing examination in order to obtain a dental license. This new legislation eliminates the clinical exam as a requirement for licensure in New York.
NYSDA Executive Director Roy Lasky is confident a full year of post-graduate dental training provides a better evaluation of a student’s aptitude, abilities, education, practice skills, and demeanor.
“A year residency is certainly fairer and more likely to ascertain a student’s fitness and ability to be granted a dental license than an all-or-nothing one-shot examination that tests a very limited number of dental skills,” said Lasky.
Unlike the previous New York PGY-1 bill passed in 2002 that gave students the option to take part in a residency program in lieu of a clinical exam, this bill will carry no sunset provision or follow up evaluation period.
Beginning in 2007, the clinical exam will have no relevance in New York State as all applicants for licensure will be required to complete a year residency as a prerequisite for initial licensure in New York State.