from ASDA
Check out ASDA's barriers to care information

There are more than 5,800 dental health professional shortage areas in the U.S., according to data released by the Kaiser Family Foundation. More than 10,000 dentists would be needed to provide sufficient care in these areas. 

In February, ASDA adopted new policy that advocates for evidence-based solutions to reduce barriers to care. ASDA-supported measures include but are not limited to early intervention, Medicaid expansion and co-location of health services. 

ASDA's Barriers to Care webpage includes up-to-date information on the issue and resources to help you discuss it with your peers and your patients.
from Washington
Senate introduces new bill to address the opioid crisis 

What's the issue?

On April 16, Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) introduced S.2680, the Opioid Crisis Response Act. The bipartisan bill includes more than 40 proposals from seven hearings held over the past few months. The bill would increase the ability of government agencies to address the opioid crisis through research initiatives, prevention and awareness programs, and additional funding for state and local activities. The Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions unanimously passed the bill on April 24.

Why is this important?

During ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day, ASDA members advocated for certain principles to be included in comprehensive bipartisan legislation that addresses the opioid crisis.

S.2680 calls for a study on opioid prescribing limits. It would include analyzing current federal and state laws that regulate opioid prescribing. This study could be the first step in implementing the ASDA- and ADA-endorsed prescribing limits of no more than seven days for the initial treatment of acute pain.

The legislation would also reauthorize the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Act through 2026. This would allow states to improve their drug monitoring programs, a solution which ASDA and the ADA both support.

Next Steps:

Read more about the bill.

Learn about other principles ASDA supports to address the opioid crisis.
Trump signs executive order to address Medicaid eligibility 

On April 10, President Trump signed an executive order to direct the appropriate federal agencies to review policies related to work requirements for individuals participating in Medicaid and other safety-net programs. Agencies have 90 days to provide recommendations that strengthen existing requirements.

Why is this important? 

As detailed in the February issue of Advocacy Brief, states may impose work requirements for Medicaid recipients. So far 17 states have introduced work requirement legislation.

The executive order could result in recommendations that restrict access to care for Medicaid recipients. It is important to be aware of how these recommendations might affect your state's Medicaid requirements. 

Next Step: 
from the states
New Jersey approves ACA mandate bill

What's the issue?

The New Jersey Health Insurance Market Preservation Act passed both houses of the state legislature. The bill would require every person in New Jersey to purchase health insurance. People that do not comply would be required to pay a fine.
Why is it important?

In December, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which removes the individual mandate from the Affordable Care Act. Without the mandate, younger or healthier people may choose not to purchase insurance, which could drive up insurance costs for people who need care. This has forced many states to look at ways to stabilize insurance costs within their own state.

If passed, the New Jersey bill could serve as a model for other states to follow.

Next Step:

Read more about this bill.
Midlevel bill advances in Massachusetts

What's the issue?

On April 24, the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Health supported a bill that would add dental therapists as members of the dental team.

One of the bill's supporters is the Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS). Typically an opponent of midlevel legislation, MDS worked with lawmakers on a compromise bill that aims to provide care to communities in need.

Dental therapists would be required to obtain a master's degree and pass a clinical exam. Once licensed, dental therapists would need to ensure that fifty percent of the patients they treat are from underserved populations.

Why is this important?

MDS is one of the first state dental associations to work with legislators on a midlevel bill. As more states introduce similar legislation, other associations may follow Massachusetts' approach.

As listed 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:

Read more about this bill.
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.