Rules signed into law for Michigan mobile dentists

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a law he says will help increase the standards of care for mobile dental facilities.

The law requires mobile dental units to get permits from the Department of Community Health, and it gives the department more authority to oversee them. It requires specific equipment and also requires that patients be referred to local dentists if more treatment is needed.

Snyder's office announced the signing Thursday.

"Good dental health contributes to good overall health. Children and seniors are among our most vulnerable residents and they are also the most common customers of mobile dental facilities," Snyder said in a statement. "Raising the quality of care delivered by these facilities will help ensure all Michiganders receive the services needed to live healthy lives."

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Peter MacGregor, R-Cannon Township, requires mobile dental facilities to establish relationships with local dentists. Snyder's office said that aims "to ensure patients are referred for proper follow-up dental procedures and improved treatment."

Mobile dental facilities typically make regular rounds of schools, Head Start centers and nursing homes to deliver diagnostic and preventive services, Snyder's office said. But it said they often do not return to the same locations and said that local dentists "have experienced difficulty contacting them to retrieve X-rays, patient information and payment records."

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