from ASDA
ASDA and other dental organizations thank Rep. Babin for student loan bill  

ASDA and sixteen other dental organizations signed on to a letter thanking Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) for introducing H.R. 5734, the Resident Education Deferred Interest Act on May 9. The bill would allow new grads participating in a dental or medical residency program to defer payments interest-free. If passed, it would give new dentists the opportunity to focus solely on their residency, rather than having to worry about taking on another job to make their loan payments. 

from Washington
New opportunities for recent grads looking to treat the underserved  

What's the issue? 
On Wednesday, May 23, the U.S. Department of Education announced a temporary expansion of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). The program provides student loan forgiveness for borrowers who work full-time in public service. The temporary expansion would allow borrowers to be reconsidered for the program. The opportunity is available on a first-come, first-served basis until the $350 million that has been allocated is awarded.

Also on May 23, the Senate passed a comprehensive bill to overhaul the Veteran's Administration (VA) health care system. In addition to combining the seven VA health programs into one, the bill includes a scholarship opportunity for doctors or dentists interested in working for the VA.  

Why is this important? 

Preserving PSLF is one of the principles ASDA advocated for during ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day. While temporary, the expansion helps strengthen the program for individuals looking to serve the public. 

On the second issue, ASDA supports scholarship opportunities that allow students to treat underserved populations, such as veterans. This bill is a helpful step to ensuring veterans have access to the medical and dental care they need. 

Next steps:

Senate introduces the Action for Dental Health Act 

What's the issue? 

On June 6, Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), along with Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) introduced the Action for Dental Health Act. 

The bill would allow organizations to qualify for oral health grants administered by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The grant money could be used to support volunteer dental projects that provide care to the underserved, like Give Kids A Smile and Missions of Mercy. 

The House of Representatives passed the Action for Dental Health Act in a vote of 387-13 on Feb. 26. 

Why is this important?  

This is an important victory for ASDA as dental students advocated for the bill to be introduced in the Senate during ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day. 

However, there is still more work to be done. Take a minute to send this action alert to encourage your Senators to co-sponsor this bill. 

Next step:

from the states
Illinois votes to provide adult dental benefits under Medicaid 

What's the issue? 

In a vote of 39-14, the Illinois Senate voted to expand the dental coverage offered to people participating in the Medicaid program. Currently, only children and pregnant mothers have access to preventive dental care. The measure would expand eligibility to include adults.

Why is it important?

Adding adult dental benefits under Medicaid could reduce barriers to care and decrease hospital costs. It is important to be aware of measures that expand Medicaid eligibility, as they could affect the patients you serve in your dental clinic.

Next step:

Read more about this bill.
Dental therapists are a part of the dental team in Arizona 

What's the issue?

On May 16, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed HB 2235 into law. The bill establishes a dental therapist as a member of the dental team. In order to become a dental therapist, a licensed dental hygienist must graduate from an accredited dental therapy program and complete 1,000 hours of work under the supervision of a dentist.

Why is this important? 

Arizona becomes the seventh state to allow midlevel providers to practice. Dental therapists are currently licensed in Minnesota, Vermont, Maine and tribal lands in Oregon, Washington and Alaska. 

As stated in ASDA's C-2 policy, the association believes the dentist is the only provider that should perform irreversible procedures and prescribe medication. 

Next step: 

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.