MDA Urges State to Change Implicit Bias Requirements

In June 2020, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive directive that required health care professionals in Michigan to complete three hours of implicit bias training during each licensure cycle. These three hours were in addition to the 60-hour CE requirement for dentist relicensure or the 36 hours for registered dental hygienists and registered dental assistants.

The 2022 MDA House of Delegates adopted policy urging the MDA Board to pursue changes that allow for asynchronous continuing education for implicit bias and to include the implicit bias training as part of the 60 hours of continuing education required for licensure. Asynchronous refers to the ability to do the training from a recorded webinar rather than being required to take a live course or webinar, as is now the case.

The implicit bias rules were opened for Public Comment by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs in July 2022, and the MDA quickly responded.

Dr. Vince BenivegnaIn a July 12 letter to LARA, MDA President Dr. Vince Benivegna stated, “The MDA believes that the current requirement that implicit bias training must be synchronous has created unnecessary challenges for providers. As a result, we request that the rule be changed to allow for synchronous and asynchronous training.”

Benivegna added, “The MDA has heard from many members that … the synchronous requirement limits the number of course offerings that are available. This presents a challenge for busy practitioners who want to do the right thing but may not be able to make the limited courses that are offered. Permitting asynchronous training would allow people to take courses when they can, thus creating greater accessibility.”

The MDA highlighted the challenges that dentists have faced with overwhelming schedules, as they deal with staff shortages and other factors beyond their control. Additionally, the MDA drew attention to the challenges that synchronous-only training poses for members who have hearing impairments. By providing asynchronous opportunities to fulfill implicit bias training, providers will be able to complete the requirements as it works for them, while also eliminating accessibility issues that arise from a synchronous-only format.

The MDA also requested that rules be amended so that implicit bias training is counted towards a dentist’s requirement to complete 60 hours of continuing education during each renewal period.

In his comments to LARA, Benivegna stated, “Currently, other mandatory continuing education credits can count toward the overall required total (i.e., jurisprudence and ethics). The MDA does not see a reason why the implicit bias training credits cannot count toward the overall total.”

Including implicit bias training towards the 60 hours will bring consistency to Michigan’s mandatory continuing education requirements, such as requiring pain management or a jurisprudence and ethics course, he stated.

Watch for updates on this issue in future MDA communications. The MDA is currently offering two in-person courses and one live webinar in implicit bias recognition — to learn more, click the links below.