U.P. dentists, oral surgeons to benefit from Casperson bill

LANSING—Legislation that allows oral health care providers to fill prescriptions submitted electronically by an authorized out-of-state dentist was recently approved by the Michigan Senate, said Sen. Tom Casperson.

An oversight in a 2009 measure, which allowed pharmacists to fill prescriptions that originated from out-of-state, neglected to provide the same exemption for dentists and oral surgeons. That, in turn, put a strain on Upper Peninsula families and practitioners.

The rural nature of the U.P. can present challenges. “Some U.P. residents find it necessary to travel to Wisconsin for more than just cheering on the Packers on Sundays – they go for their health care needs as well,” Casperson said.

Seeing the need for reform, the 38th District lawmaker introduced Senate Bill 213 to correct the problem.

“A small oversight by a few has caused a big problem for many,” said Casperson, R-Escanaba. “Because current law prohibits prescriptions authored in Wisconsin from being filled in the U.P., residents are being forced to drive large distances for their oral health care needs. This just adds more strain to our already economically-stressed families.”

The region’s oral health care professionals have to deal with this problem every day, too, and as Dr. Bob Richards of Portage Dental Health in Hancock said, Casperson’s bill needs approval.

“This bill would allow patients who have to be referred out of area for dental procedures to return home and have their prescription needs filled at local pharmacies,” said Richards. “The Michigan Dental Association and I welcome the passage of this bill to help dental patients.”

SB 213 now goes to the state House of Representatives for consideration.