Gov. Inslee signs Rep. Caldier’s dental compact bill to create interstate opportunities for dentists, dental hygienists

A bill authored by Rep. Michelle Caldier, R-Gig Harbor, that will reduce workforce barriers for dental professionals who move to Washington state, was signed into law Thursday by Gov. Jay Inslee.

House Bill 1576 establishes the Dentist and Dental Hygienist Compact, which will reduce barriers, facilitate interstate licensing, increase portability, and preserve patient protections.

“Washington is facing a critical dental workforce shortage, and it is nearing a crisis. The pandemic worsened this problem,” said Caldier, a former practicing dentist.

“Dental professionals want to move to Washington, but they face significant barriers to getting licensed, including education requirements, fees and processing delays. This especially impacts members of the military and their spouses, who may move to Washington state for a short time while serving their country. And while they may have had extensive training and experience practicing dentistry in other states, they often are unable to do it here because of the expensive, complicated education and licensing requirements,” noted Caldier.

The compact, established under the bill, will allow licensed dentists and dental hygienists to practice across state lines in states that join the agreement.

Caldier says Iowa and Washington are the first and second states, respectively, to pass legislation for a dental compact. Tennessee, Ohio and Texas are also on track to adopt their own legislation. When six states have joined, she says the compact will be formed. Early states in the compact will write the rules through a new seven-member compact commission, including requirements for licensed dentists and dental hygienists to practice within the compact states. Compact states are also given the option of charging a reduced fee or no fee to active military members and their spouses.

Caldier says the dental compact will be similar to other health-care compact agreements, of which Washington is already a member.

“This bill helps to remove barriers, open the doors to the ability of dentists from out-of-state to practice in Washington, and reduces the dental workforce shortage in our state,” Caldier added. “It will provide needed financial stability for military families and will be good for our state’s economy.”

The measure passed the House and Senate unanimously. The new law takes effect on July 22, 2023.

For more information on the new interstate compact, go to:


Washington State House Republican Communications