from ASDA
High advocacy achiever? Turn in your points for national recognition

ASDA's Advocacy Certificate Program is in full swing! If you recently attended a district or chapter advocacy event, make sure you submit your point

This year ASDA will highlight top point earners online. Turn in the points you've earned so far to see how you stack up against other advocates and to be recognized for your efforts.

As a reminder, ASDA members must earn at least eight points by Friday, Jan. 31, 2020 to earn the official certificate and special lapel pin. Each advocacy initiative has been assigned a point value. Visit our website to learn about activities that qualify for points.
ASDA adds voice to repeal medical device tax
What's the issue?

Several dental organizations, including the American Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry, drafted comments to share with the Senate Finance Committee's Health Task Force. 

These efforts aim to repeal the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices, which is set to take effect at the end of 2019. ASDA believes the increase will negatively impact access to oral health care services.

Why is it important?

ASDA has supported efforts to repeal the medical device tax in the past. By increasing the prices of dental materials, the tax would likely result in burdens on patients and dentists. This is especially true for dental professionals in small group practices. Operating costs are significant, and the ability to sustain small businesses could be strained with the implementation of the medical device tax.
from the States
Legislative Update: Connecticut eliminates live patient portion of exam

Governor Ned Lamont signed HB 7303 to remove the live patient portion of the dental licensure examination and establish a one-year clinical residency. 

Check out the June Advocacy Brief to read more about the bill that makes Connecticut the 9th state to remove the live patient from the licensure exam.  
Oregon Governor signs bill for licensure pathway without live patient

What's the issue?

Dental professionals in Oregon are taking strides to move the state away from a licensure examination that includes a live patient. Beginning in February, the state considered SB 824 which was introduced by Senator Fred Girod and advocated for by the Oregon Dental Association.  

The bill was signed into law by Governor Kate Brown in June and allows the Oregon Board of Dentistry to accept examinations for initial licensure that don't require the use of a live patient, such as the objective structured clinic examination (OSCE). What's more, this bill paves the path for Oregon to accept the ADA's Dental Licensure Objective Structured Clinical Examination. While the pilot is scheduled for 2019, this multiple station exam should roll out in 2020.  

Why is it important?

ASDA members believe that exams on human subjects in a high-stakes, one-shot scenario must end in order to protect the public and to maintain the integrity of the profession of dentistry. 
Legislative Update: Florida governor signs bill to take action against student loan debt

What's the issue?

The March Advocacy Brief discussed the Florida Senate Health Policy Committee approval of SB 716.  Since then, HB 843 was introduced to and approved by the House and then signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis.

The law creates the Dental Student Loan Repayment Program to provide financial support to dentists who practice in underserved areas. The law also establishes the Donated Dental Services Program which generates a voluntary dental provider network to provide services at no cost to eligible patients. 

According to Jolene Paramore, president of the Florida Dental Association, now that the bill has passed, the next goal is to get the funding approved.

Why is it important?

On average, dental students graduate with nearly $300,000 of dental student debt. Students report that the high loan repayments limit their practice options and keep them from being able to provide services in rural areas. Measures adopted in HB 843 are supported by ASDA's F-4 Student Debt policy which advocates for actions that alleviate the debt burden.
ASDA also encourages students to participate in efforts that impact the oral health of underserved populations. The volunteer network aligns with this policy.

Next steps:

It's vital for students to continue advocating debt alleviation bills at the state and federal levels. You can take part by sending letters to your congresspeople. Action alerts for the REDI Act, the Student Loan Refinancing Act are live. Take action today!
from Washington
Students voice student debt concern on the Hill

What's the issue?

In June, dental students and residents spoke at a hearing of the House Committee on Small Business. Dr. Bicuspid reported that several young dentists shared their personal stories on how the exorbitant amount of student debt will affect their lives. While the average dental student graduates with nearly $300,000 of debt, this amount continues to grow for students pursuing residencies. Students and residents feel they will not be able to open practices in light of this debt and will have to consider corporate dental career options. 

Why is it important?

Students at the hearing urged Congress to reauthorize the Higher Education Act to lower federal student loan interest rates and to allow for dentists to defer interest accrual during residencies. ASDA advocated for the reauthorization of the Act at the 2019 ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day and continues to support measures at the state and federal levels to alleviate dental student debt. 
Legislative Update: House passes funding bill for NIDCR

On June 19, the House passed HR 2740, which increases spending for the National Institute of Health, specifically $484 million in funding for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. As discussed in the April and May Advocacy Briefs, this funding is important because the NIDCR seeks to improve oral, dental and craniofacial health. The bill contrasts with the Trump administration's budget proposal to cut spending and now moves to the Senate for consideration.  
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.