from ASDA
Advocacy event spotlight   

It's time to stop reinventing the advocacy wheel. Rather than plan an event from scratch, learn from the leaders that have planned successful advocacy events at other chapters.

Howard University College of Dentistry teams up with the ADA and ADPAC 

It's always a great day at Howard University College of Dentistry (HUCD) to spread advocacy awareness and increase ASDA fever. The first step of planning an event is being organized, having a strong team and having a goal. In this event, our goal is to get students fired up about advocacy! On November 14, 2018, HUCD teamed up with Mike Graham (senior vice president, Government and Public Affairs at the American Dental Association) and Peter Aiello (ADPAC grassroots and digital advocacy at the American Dental Association). During an informative lunch and learn, dental students received information on the push for midlevel providers in areas with limited access to care, and how that can negatively affect us and our profession. Students were encouraged to join ADPAC and become more involved in advocacy. As dental student advocates, we have a voice to promote change in the public policy arena and a responsibility to lobby our lawmakers on issues that hinder our profession. We experienced tremendous positive response and student engagement from this event. Advocacy, an area that is sometimes overlooked by dental students, has now been revived at Howard! We're so privileged to be in the nation's capital and so close to the ADA and ADPAC team. Mark your calendars for Lobby Day here in D.C. on April 14-16.

Have additional questions about this event? Contact the Council on Advocacy
There's still time to register for ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day  

Registration closes tomorrow. Don't miss your opportunity to advocate for change on Capitol Hill. Talk to your ASDA leaders if you'd like to participate, or you can register on your own . Don't delay! 

ASDA and others thank lawmakers for supporting dental faculty loan repayment program  

ASDA and members of the dental community signed on to a letter thanking leaders in the House and Senate for reintroducing legislation that would exclude certain federal loan repayments made to dental faculty from being included as gross income. This legislation will help recruit and retain qualified dental faculty. ASDA was supportive of the bill during the last congressional session. 

Feel at Home on the Hill: Register to attend ASDA's pre-Lobby Day webinar

If you're headed to this year's ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day, you won't want to miss the Council on Advocacy's webinar at 7:30 p.m. CDT on March 27.

Council members will help you prepare for the meeting and explain what to expect while you're there. You'll also have the opportunity to ask questions from ASDA's advocacy experts to ensure you're ready for the Hill. Register today!
from Washington
Legislation Update: McCarran-Ferguson reform

As discussed in the February 2019 issue of Advocacy Brief, the Senate introduced legislation to repeal the McCarran-Ferguson antitrust exemption for health insurance companies. On Feb. 28, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) introduced the House of Representatives version of the bill, the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act. ASDA will continue to keep you updated on efforts to advance this piece of legislation in both the House and the Senate. 
from the States
Medicaid Updates 

What's the issue? 

Several states have proposed or adopted legislation that deals with how Medicaid patients receive dental care. See below for pertinent updates.
  • Massachusetts introduces bill to examine Medicaid reimbursement to dental schools 
    • H.R. 98 would create a task force to study the impact of reimbursements to dental schools for care provided to MassHealth patients. MassHealth is Massachusetts' Medicaid program. If passed, the bill would require the task force to 1) identify and review all current state laws, regulations and administrative directives that relate to health care reimbursement; 2) identify financial and procedural steps that would best allow payment to Boston's teaching facilities through MassHealth; and 3) submit recommendations to establish legislative procedures that provide funding, regulation and grant reimbursement power to MassHealth for basic and restorative dental care to accredited Massachusetts dental schools.
  • Utah bill passed by both chambers to restore dental benefits to seniors on Medicaid
    • SB11 restores dental coverage for adults 65 and over on Medicaid. The state estimates that an additional 10,200 patients will gain coverage under the bill. The University of Utah Dental School agreed to pay the state's portion of the federal Medicaid rate. The bill has been sent to the governor's office. 
  • Hawaii senate passes bill to expand Medicaid coverage 
    • SB 467 passed the state Senate. The bill restores preventative adult dental benefits under Medicaid. Since 2009, Medicaid enrollees could only access emergency dental care.   
Why is this important? 

Increasing access to preventative dental care can reduce overall healthcare costs by lowering emergency room visits for dental issues. The Massachusetts bill could lead the way for other states to examine how dental schools receive reimbursement for Medicaid patients. As reported in the July 2018 issue of the Advocacy Brief, the University of Iowa Dental College could no longer accept Medicaid patients due to low reimbursement rates. 

Midlevel Updates 

What's the issue?

Several states have proposed, adopted or defeated midlevel provider legislation. See below for pertinent updates.
  • North Dakota rejects dental therapist bill
    • On Tuesday, Feb. 12, in a vote of 31-62 legislators voted down a bill that would have allowed dental therapists to practice in the state.  
  • Massachusetts proposes dental therapist bill 
    • Senate President Emerita Harriette Chandler and Rep. Kate Hogan introduced bills to permit dental therapists to be licensed. The bills would allow licensed dental therapists to perform procedures like oral health screenings and fillings. The bill has 16 cosponsors out of 40 senators and 69 cosponsors out of 160 representatives in the House. 
  •  New Mexico passes dental therapy bill
    • A bill to add dental therapists to the dental team passed the House of Representatives. The bill would limit the areas dental therapists are able to practice to underserved areas and places that serve native populations. 
Why is this important? 

As listed in ASDA's C-2 policy, the association believes that only the dentist should 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:

Want to see if dental therapy legislation has been introduced in your state? Browse the ADEA U.S. Interactive and Regulatory Tracking Map.

Student loan repayment bill introduced in Florida 

What's the issue?
On Feb. 5, Florida State Senator Ed Hooper introduced SB 716. The bill would allow dentists to qualify for up to $250,000 in student loan repayments by encouraging graduating dentists to practice in public health programs or in areas that are underserved. 

The bill would also create a "Donated Dental Services Program" that would provide dental care to low-income, elderly or disabled people who cannot afford care but do not qualify for Medicaid. 

On March 4, the Senate Health Policy Committee approved the bill.

Why is this important?

As listed in ASDA's F-4 policy, the association supports initiatives that provide recent graduates with opportunities for student loan forgiveness and repayment options.

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.