The Advocacy Certificate Program was a success

A total of 840 points were submitted this year with 53 members receiving their certificate, and six members becoming Lifelong Advocates! Lifelong Advocates are individuals who previously received a certificate and continued on their advocacy journey to earn additional points throughout their dental school career.

Congrats to Roseman for earning the most advocacy points at the chapter level. Check back next month to find out the individual who received the most points this year!
FROM Washington
Legislative Update: COVID-19 relief package approved by Congress

In the February issue of Advocacy Brief, we reviewed President's Biden COVID-19 relief plan.
  • On Feb. 27, the House of Representatives passed a $1.9 trillion relief package.
  • The bill includes stimulus checks for most Americans, and funding for schools, small businesses and state and local governments.
  • On March 6, in a 50-49 vote, the Senate passed the bill. It was the first coronavirus stimulus package not to receive bipartisan support. 
  • On Wednesday, the House gave final congressional approval to the bill. President Biden is expected to sign it on Friday. Additional information regarding the bill can be found here.
Medical Volunteers by Luiz Melendez
Bipartisan bill introduced to expand the healthcare workforce

The Issue: On Jan. 26, Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced S 54, the Strengthening America's Health Care Readiness Act. The bill would expand the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) and Nurse Corps programs by:
  • Providing an additional $5 billion in scholarship and loan forgiveness awards through NHSC
  • Allocating an additional $1 billion through Nurse Corps
  • 40 percent of the funding would be set aside for racial/ethnic minorities and students from low-income urban/rural areas
  • Establishing a pilot program to utilize members of NHSC to serve in emergency capacities through the NDMS.
Why is this important? ASDA has advocated for additional funding for NHSC in the past. As noted in ASDA's F-4 policy, the association supports legislation that provides opportunities for loan forgiveness and scholarships.

FROM the States
Mississippi and West Virginia address licensure

The issue: On Feb. 3, the Mississippi House of Representatives passed a bill that would increase licensure portability.

On Feb. 19, the West Virginia House of Representatives passed comparable legislation.

Similar to those adopted in Arizona and Iowa, these bills would allow licensed professionals who have held a license for a year in another state to obtain a license in Mississippi or West Virginia. These bills now go to the Senate for consideration.

Why is this important? Increasing licensure portability is an important aspect of addressing issues with dental licensure. ASDA is a founding member of the Coalition for Modernizing Dental Licensure, which is committed to the advancement of two key goals:
  1. Eliminating single encounter, procedure-based patient examinations and replacing them with clinical assessments that have stronger validity and reliability evidence; and
  2. Increasing licensure portability to allow for professional mobility and improved access to care.
It is important to monitor states that address licensure portability to assist with reform efforts in the future.
Dental therapy bills introduced in Florida

The issue: On Feb. 12, Rep. Melony Bell (R-FL) introduced HB 961. The bill would allow Medicaid reimbursement for mobile dental therapists to work under the supervision of a dentist. It would also direct the state board of dentistry to create a council on dental therapy.

SB 604, introduced by Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-FL), is the same version of the bill being considered in the Senate.

Why is this important? As listed in ASDA's C-2 policy, ASDA believes the dentist is the only provider who should perform the following: diagnosis and treatment planning, prescribing work authorizations, performing surgical/irreversible dental procedures, prescribing drugs and or other medications.

Check out this video from Immediate Past President Sydney Shapiro that explains ASDA's stance on midlevel providers.
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.