from ASDA
ASDA's Legislative Grassroots Network Event Grant: Applications are live!

Does your chapter have an idea for an advocacy event? The application for ASDA's LGN Event Grant is now open. This grant encourages any and all advocacy events, from coordinating a lunch and learn to implementing an advocacy academy. Connect with your chapter's legislative liaison to see how this grant could enhance your advocacy programming.

A maximum of $500 will be award per grant submission, and up to six grants will be awarded.  Applications are due by Sept. 6, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. CDT. Submit your application here

Contact Robin Lieberman, executive assistant, with any questions.
Catch up on ASDA's Licensure Reform Strategy 
In October 2018, ASDA along with the American Dental Association and American Dental Education Association formed a coalition to modernize the dental licensure process.

To help keep ASDA's members well-informed on the coalition's momentum, our coalition representatives, President Craig McKenzie and Immediate Past President Roopali Kulkarni, hosted a webinar. Craig and Roopali did a great job explaining the issue of licensure and providing ASDA's stance.

Take a few minutes to find out how the coalition was formed, its goals and how it aligns with ASDA's overall licensure reform strategy. Check out the recording.
from the States
Connecticut poised to eliminate live patient portion of licensure exam

What's the issue?

Earlier this month, legislation to remove the live patient portion of the dental licensure examination passed the Connecticut Senate and House. HB 7303 is poised to be signed into law by Governor Ned Lamont. If enacted, the law will discontinue examinations on human subjects and establish a one-year clinical residency. The removal of human subjects will have to occur by July 2021 or upon the state dental commission's approval of an exam that doesn't include a live patient component.
On the dental therapy front, the bill creates a work group to review the dental therapist scope of practice and education requirements. The group will have to provide feedback by January 2020.

Why is it important?

If adopted, Connecticut will become the 8th state to offer dental licensure without the use of a live patient. Current f irst year dental students wanting to practice in Connecticut could be licensed with a non-patient based licensure exam. 

ASDA, the American Dental Association and the American Dental Education Association agree that exams on human subjects in a high-stakes, one-shot scenario must end. ASDA understands alternatives, like a post-grad residency, are preferable to the current process.

ASDA believes an ideal licensure exam:
  • Does not use human subjects in a live clinical testing scenario
  • Is psychometrically valid and reliable in its assessment
  • Is reflective of the scope of current dental practice
  • Is universally accepted
ASDA believes demonstration of both kinesthetic and clinical decision-making competence is necessary to obtain initial dental licensure through the following:
  • Manikin-based kinesthetic assessment, 
  • A non-patient based Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) and
  • Submission of a portfolio of comprehensive patient care.
Currently, the Dental Licensure Objective Structured Clinical Examination (DLOSCE) is in development and is set to rollout in 2020. The exam consists of standardized stations for students to complete dental problem-solving tasks and does not include a human subject. It is unclear if Connecticut will adopt the DLOSCE.

Maine considers expanding dental benefits for Medicaid patients

What's the issue?

As mentioned in the March Advocacy Brief, several states are proposing legislation related to how Medicaid patients access dental care. Maine is one more state that's considering the expansion of Medicaid dental benefits to adults. The bill, LD 519, continues to be discussed by the Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services.

The state currently affords routine dental care to children qualifying for Medicaid and emergency dental coverage for adults. The new benefit would provide comprehensive dental services to adult patients, which includes "any services necessary to maintain oral health and prevent disease, restore oral structures to health and function and treat emergency conditions." 

Why is it important?

Last year, ASDA members adopted the H-2 policy in support of evidence-based measures that are efficacious and sustainable in reducing barriers to care, which includes Medicaid expansion. Maine's legislation aligns with this policy. While there may be costs with the initial implementation of the expansion, increasing access to preventative dental care can reduce overall healthcare costs by lowering emergency room visits for dental issues.
Nevada joins states considering midlevel provider bills

What's the issue?

On May 27, SB 366 passed Nevada's Senate. The bill designates dental therapists and allows them to perform some irreversible procedures in certain settings like school-based health clinics and tribal health clinics. The bill is now being considered by the Assembly of Commerce and Labor. 

Why is this important?

It's vital for ASDA members to be aware of midlevel provider legislation in their state. At the 2019 House of Delegates, ASDA members reaffirmed that the dentist should be the only provider to perform the following functions: diagnosis and treatment planning, prescribing work authorizations, performing surgical/irreversible dental procedures and prescribing drugs and/or other medications.

Next step:

Browse the ADEA U.S. Interactive and Regulatory Tracking Map to see if midlevel provider legislation is in your state.
New York considers removing exemption for measles vaccination

What's the issue?

The United States reported 372 measles cases in 2018. This has increased significantly to more than 1000 reported cases in the first six months of 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control. What's more, 550 of these cases occurred in New York City.

In response to this growing crisis, the New York State Assembly is considering the removal of vaccine exemptions due to religious beliefs. Medical exemptions for vaccinations would still be allowed if the bill is adopted. Similar legislation was considered but voted down by the Assembly in recent years. In response to the drastic increase in outbreaks, New York legislators are reconsidering their position on the issue. Other states, like Maine and California, have already passed or are considering similar legislation.

Health care providers may also have to ethically confront the issue in their practices. The American Dental Association's Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs released a statement in May to address the issue. The council provided the following suggestions: 
  • Asking sick patients to delay their appointments until they are no longer contagious 
  • Scheduling unvaccinated patients at different times from patients with compromised immune systems
  • Refusing care as long as dental providers take the necessary precautions as dictated by their state 
Why is this important? 

As the measles outbreak continues, students will need to be prepared to protect and respect their patients. ASDA's H-4 policy on treating infectious patients opposes dental care discrimination by dental students or dental schools on the basis of disease or handicap.

Next Step: 
from Washington
Tobacco legislation

What's the issue?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly 9 out of 10 cigarette smokers first try cigarette smoking by age 18. What's more, the recent increase in e-cigarette usage has equated to more youths using tobacco products. The CDC supports raising the minimum age of sale for tobacco products to 21 years as a measure that may help reduce and prevent youth tobacco usage. 

On May 20, bipartisan legislation, S. 1541: the Tobacco-Free Youth Act, was introduced to raise the age of tobacco purchases from 18 to 21. 

In early June, ASDA joined forces with several dental organizations by signing onto a letter of support for S. 1541. 

Why is it important?

It is no secret that tobacco is harmful to overall health. Related oral health specifically, the American Dental Association relays that the use of tobacco products can cause everything from a dulled sense of taste and smell to oral cancer. Dental students can help identify patients that use tobacco and provide resources on tobacco cessation. If adopted, this legislation may change how you talk about tobacco with your teen patients.
Student debt legislation introduced 

What's the issue?

The Affordable Loans for Any Student Act, was introduced to the Senate by Jeff Merkley and House of Representatives by Rosa DeLauro in April. This democratically-backed legislation amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 and intends to increase usage of the federal student loan income-based repayment plan and improve repayment options for borrowers. For example, the bill strives to end interest capitalization for federal direct loans. In other words, the loan interest that accrued during school or deferment won't be added to the principal balance of the loan.

Why is it important? 

The student debt crisis is a top priority for our members. ASDA supports initiatives to reduce the burden of debt for dental students. This bill attempts to simplify loan repayment options that will help students.
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.