“If you look at that paper that I distributed, information from the American Dental Association tracks the actual number of graduates, shown at the bottom of the page. You will see that from 1998-2002 the average has been about 160 graduates per year. It is very significant that from 2002 and moving forward, we will only have 110 graduates from the two remaining institutions. Using the Committee’s data that they got from the IDES, it indicates that there are approximately 130 openings each year. With 110 graduates of our two public institutions moving forward from now on, even if 100 percent of them stay within the state, they will not be able to fill those openings.
“No one in the dental industry is talking about an over-supply of dentists. Indeed, in Illinois the Economic Department of the American Dental Association indicates that the doctor-to-population ratio in Illinois has fallen by 2.5 percent between 1993 and 1999.
“The Committee’s conclusion that there is an oversupply of dentists is woefully inaccurate with respect to the state of Illinois. Therefore, we believe that the recommendation of the Committee is not justified by the data and we would request that the dentist category be removed from this recommendation to reduce the capacity in the state of Illinois.
“With respect to the supply of dental assistants on page 2 of the document you have, the dental assisting category was not listed in the Committee’s report from the IDES data that was presented. I understand why -- because it is not a degree program. That is another issue that I’m not going to address because that is a policy and position the Board has taken. Nevertheless, you will see on page 2 of the document that the projected employment of dental assisting is in the 15,700 category by 2010. It also indicates the average number of openings as 586.
“In 1990, there were only twelve accredited dental assisting programs in the state of Illinois graduating upward of 360 graduates. This year, that number is five. Those other programs have closed and there are only five existing dental assisting programs in the state, graduating at a maximum 144. Our figures indicate that actually with attrition rates and with less enrollment and capacity, they are only graduating about 85. There is no way that 85 graduates can fill 586 openings according to the IDES figures.
“Therefore, we believe that the Committee’s conclusion that reducing the capacity of dental assisting is not justified by the data and we would also request that the dental assisting category be removed from this recommendation.”
Chairman Kaplan said, “Two comments, one is that the HSEGA grants only apply to private institutions, so there are no private institutions teaching dentistry in this state. So the impact on the field is at best questionable.
“Secondly, with regard to the dental assistants, they don’t require an AA degree and our program has not been changed in that regard. We don’t give grants where there is no entrance level degree involved.
“While I understand your comments and am listening carefully, I don’t think it pertains accurately to what we are doing here today.”
Mr. Rechner said, “I believe that the report really involved two elements. The first element being a set of priorities and recommendations based upon general policies regarding the capacity of the supply of dentists and dental assistants coming out of our schools to fulfill the demand.
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