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2021 - Issues That Could Affect Your Practice - Message from Dr. Bruce Hutchison

The VDA Political Action Committee (VDA PAC) gives us the stature and access to effectively educate policymakers on oral health issues. It has traditionally been one of the strongest PACs in Virginia because our members recognize the importance of a legal and regulatory environment that allows them to focus on caring for their patients. 

Every seat in the House of Delegates is up for election this year, along with the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General. 

Our PAC contributions have dipped in recent years and are trending downwards, even as the threats to our profession are multiplying. We need support from all VDA members to help in the effort to protect dentistry!  If you haven’t already paid for your 2021 VDA membership dues and made a contribution to the VDA PAC, please submit your dues payment and include your PAC contribution today! YOU can make a difference!

These are just a few of the issues knocking on the door that could impact your practice:


Already for the 2021 session, Senator Bill Stanley has introduced legislation to eliminate the medical malpractice cap. The VDA has fought for this cap and will continue to do so, but needs a strong, fully funded PAC in order to be effective. 

Scope of Practice

Well-funded national foundations are pouring millions of dollars into state campaigns that undermine a dentist’s scope of practice, pushing for mid-level dental providers who would work independently of a licensed dentist. Some form of this type of practice is already allowed in 12 states and there are 20 states expected to have legislation on the issue in 2021. A strong PAC is needed to educate lawmakers in Virginia around patient safety implications related to changes like this. 


Direct-to-Consumer companies are using states as laboratories to explore new business models, seeking ways to bend the law and play by different rules than the standard of care that’s required of licensed dentists in brick and mortar practices. In 2020, the VDA spearheaded a legislative effort to define teledentistry and give the Board of Dentistry purview over teledentistry, however, the fight is not over and we must remain vigilant and protect patient safety as the tactics of these companies evolve. 

Third Party Payers

Each of us individually does not have the platform to be able to effect change with third party payer policies, but the united voice of dentists can be a strong force for change. A healthy PAC can be the difference between policies that treat dentists fairly and streamline their interactions with third party payers or policies that allow them to come between dentists and their patients and drain time and resources from your practice. 

Healthy Business Environment

Even as the VDA fought successfully for dentists to have access to additional relief at the federal and state level, most dentists in Virginia saw patient volume decline and expenses go up in 2020. The PAC is our strong voice with legislators to ensure they understand the impact their decisions have on the ability of oral health care providers to keep their doors open and provide essential dental care in their communities. 

The VDA is your voice in Richmond, and every dentist in Virginia benefits from their advocacy. A healthy PAC is a key part of why the VDA has been seen as a serious, trusted voice with the legislature. When I receive my dues insert, I will be once again proudly marking my contribution to the VDA PAC, and I hope you will as well. 


Bruce Hutchison, D.D.S.; Chair, VDA PAC