ASDA supports the Dental and Optometric Care (DOC) Access Act

ASDA, along with other organizations, sent letters to Rep. Clarke, D-N.Y.; Rep. Carter, R-Ga.; Rep. Soto, D-Fla.; and Rep. McKinley, R-W.Va. thanking them for introducing the Dental and Optometric Care Access Act in the House and Sen. Manchin, R-W.Va. and Sen Cramer, R-N.D. for introducing the same bill in the Senate.

The bill would prohibit "non-covered services" provisions in dental and vision plans. In some cases, insurance companies are able to dictate the price for procedures dentists perform even if that procedure won't be covered by the insurance company. While 41 states have passed laws to address this issue, federal legislation is needed as some insurance companies are regulated at the federal level.

As noted in the letter, "the current landscape adversely impacts competition in the dental plan market, which is dominated by only a few national carriers in many states, and shifts costs to patients who are paying for their coverage out of their own pockets or are seeing a dentist out-of-network."
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ASDA has supported similar legislation to address this issue in the past. Since this legislation is bicameral and has bipartisan support, ASDA is hopeful this much needed reform will become law this year.

June Advocacy Brief Challenge 

The first challenge is here! This month, complete ASDA's advocacy cryptogram. Letters are assigned random numbers to reveal a hidden message. Complete the cryptogram and send your responses to to receive a point towards your Advocacy Certificate.
FROM Washington
Bill introduced to provide funding for mobile dental units

The issue: On March 24, Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev. introduced the Maximizing Outcomes through Better Investments in Lifesaving Equipment for (MOBILE) Health Care Act. The bill would expand criteria in the New Access Points Grant program to include part-time funding for mobile health clinics.
The New Access Points Grant program provides funding to reduce barriers to care for underserved populations. The grant provides access to affordable health care options, including funding for mobile clinics-expanding the reach of the program by bringing care closer to patients in need.

Why is this important?
As noted in ASDA's H-2 policy, the association supports evidence-based measures that are efficacious and sustainable in reducing barriers to care in underserved communities.

FROM the States
States address initial licensure  

The issue: Several states pass licensure reform legislation.

Oklahoma: On April 28, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed the Universal Licensure Recognition Act. This bill is similar to the Kansas bill discussed in the last issue of Advocacy Brief that would increase licensure portability in the state by allowing licensed professionals who have held a license for a year in other states to obtain a license in Oklahoma. The only difference is that in Oklahoma, the individual would need to have passed a licensure exam that is currently accepted in Oklahoma. While Oklahoma accepts all regional testing exams, it does not accept alternative pathways to licensure like the DLOSCE.

Georgia: On May 6, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) issued an executive order that temporarily removes the requirement for applicants to take a live patient-based exam to receive their license. Instead, candidates will be able to submit results from the Central Regional Dental Testing Service or American Board of Dental Examiners manikin-based typodont examinations taken after Jan. 1, 2021 for initial licensure. The executive order will expire when the public health state of emergency is terminated or ceases to be renewed.

Tennessee: On May 18, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed a bill that will allow applicants to submit results from a non-patient based model to obtain initial licensure.

Why is this important? Actions in the states above represent important victories in ASDA's licensure reform efforts.

For licensure portability, Oklahoma becomes the sixth state to pass legislation that universally recognizes professional licenses from other states.

The actions passed in Georgia demonstrate the importance of continuing to advocate for this issue to ensure students have permanent access to non-patient based alternatives.

For initial licensure reform, Tennessee represents the growing number of states that accept a non-patient based alternative permanently.

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.