legislative liaison spotlight
Legislative liaisons serve an important role at each chapter. The 2016-17 Council on Advocacy would like to recognize these leaders and share their successes.

Meet Texas-San Antonio's legislative liaison, Sidharth Reddy
Sid is a second-year dental school student from San Antonio, starting his first role within ASDA as legislative liaison. He took on this position with the desire to learn about the legislative process and politically relevant topics in dentistry. His approach is geared towards understanding and objectively considering the multiple perspectives on each topic. It is both refreshing and inspiring. One of his top priorities is to build a stronger advocacy program at his school and attend State Lobby Day.

How do you engage students at your school?
Many students at UTHSCSA dental school are interested in the politics surrounding our profession so that does make my job easier. We have established an ADPAC Lunch and Learn Event in the spring to encourage our students to stay up to date on the issues many of us face today.

Learn more about Sidharth, including how his interest in advocacy began and what famous person he'd like to have dinner with.
from ASDA
Check out ASDA's Advocacy Track Program
Sometimes the hardest part is getting started. ASDA's Advocacy Track Program helps you identify which advocacy events you should hold at your chapter based on your chapter's experience and resources. Feel free to contact the Council on Advocacy at Advocacy@ASDAnet.org if you have any questions about the program.

Hashtag your #ASDAadvocacy events
Other chapters want to see the innovative advocacy events you are holding at your chapter. Be sure to use the #ASDAadvocacy hashtag so members can follow your event.

Midlevel provider timeline
A midlevel provider is an individual who is not a dentist with four years of post-collegiate education (or, as in the case of Pacific School of Dentistry, three years) who may perform irreversible procedures on the public.

Check out the timeline below to see how the midlevel model has been implemented throughout the US (click to enlarge).
from Washington
Proposed bill gives recent grads more time before starting to repay debt

What's the issue?
On July 5, Representative Pete Aguilar (D- Calif.) introduced H.R. 5622, the Grace Period Alleviation (GPA) Act. The bill would give students an option to extend the grace period before beginning the repayment period. Currently recent graduates have a six-month grace period before they are required to begin paying back government-issued loans. Under this bill, graduates would have an option of a 12-month grace period before they would have to start paying back their loans.

Why is this important?
The American Dental Education Association reports that the average amount of educational debt for dental students graduating in 2015 was $255,567.

Extending the grace period before repayment begins helps students make the career choice that is best for them. Without the burden of a large monthly payment in the first year, dental students can choose to practice in a public health setting, work part-time or attempt to build their own practice.

Next step:

Obama signs bill that expands dental care for veterans

What's the issue?
On July 29, President Obama signed into law S. 3055, the Department of Veterans Dental Insurance Reauthorization Act. The bill will continue the current veteran dental insurance program that began in 2014. The bill also expands eligibility for the program to all veterans who do not currently receive dental benefits from the VA.

Why is this important?
Extending coverage allows all veterans to access high-quality comprehensive dental care.

Next step:

from the states
Kentucky Governor introduces plan to reduce dental coverage within Medicaid

What's the issue?
On June 22, Governor Matt Bevin introduced the Helping to Engage and Achieve Long Term Health (HEALTH) proposal. This initiative recommends substantial changes to the federal-state Medicaid program in Kentucky.

Along with charging a small monthly premium for coverage, the proposal would eliminate routine dental and vision coverage for Medicaid recipients.

Instead, Medicaid recipients would have the opportunity to participate in a "My Rewards" program. Under the program, individuals earn credits for getting a health assessment, volunteering, taking a college course or getting a job. Those credits could be applied to help pay for dental and vision services.

The U.S. Department for Health and Human Services (HHS) will have to approve the proposed changes.

Why is this important?
After Kentucky expanded its Medicaid program in 2014, dental care surged by more than 100,000 people.

Under the governor's proposal, individuals living in poverty who do not have the ability to participate in the "My Rewards" program will no longer have access to preventive dental care.

In order for HHS to consider the proposal, Kentucky must allow a 30-day period to provide public comment on the initiative. After the public comment period, the Commonwealth reviews and summarizes all comments received and makes the necessary revisions before submitting it to HHS.

Next steps:
The opportunity to provide public comment has been extended to Friday, August 12, 2016 at 5 p.m. If you would like to share your concerns with the proposed HEALTH program, please email them to kyhealth@ky.gov by the established date.

Learn more about the Governor's plan.

Advocacy Brief shares news about ongoing issues and legislation that are of interest to dental students and organized dentistry. Inclusion of items does not imply their adherence to ASDA policy.
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