from ASDA
Why ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day  matters  

We're counting down the days until 2019 ADA Dentist and Dental Student Lobby Day! As an organization rooted in advocacy, this event is an opportunity for students to step into Washington D.C. and provide our voice, support, and concerns for legislation that affects our profession and our patients. As dental students it is very easy for us to fall into our bubble of deadlines, practicals, assignments, and lose sight of the bigger picture. Last year, one of the speakers said, "If you're not at the table, you're on the menu." That's why it's imperative that we participate in the dialogue. As an attendee, you have the chance to represent your fellow dental students back at school and your patients- both present and future. You can share with your representatives and staff how student debt has forced you to rethink where and how you want to practice.

I love this event because it allows dental students and dentists to interact, form a connection, and strengthen the relationship between students and their state dental association. We're a team- providing a special perspective on and breaking down the misconceptions of dentistry. It is just as important to share your story with the dentists you'll be lobbying with- these connections go far beyond the three days in D.C. They want and need to know what it means to be a dental student in our current landscape. Don't be afraid to take an active role in the preparation of your meetings on the Hill.

Our agenda is jam-packed with some amazing speakers, reviewing the issues, and plenty of time to network with dental students and dentists from every state in the country. I encourage you to share your lobbying experience with your fellow classmates and review the issues with them. I challenge you to take the connections you make on the Hill in these three days back home with you and turn them into lifelong friendships and mentorships. Get ready Washington D.C., we're coming for you!

-Lauren Yap, 2018-19 Council on Advocacy Chair
ASDA and others thank lawmakers for supporting debt relief for residents
ASDA and thirty one other organizations signed on to a letter thanking Representatives Babin, Gosar, Harris, Posey and Stivers for introducing the Resident Education Deferred Interest Act. This bill amends the Higher Education Act to halt interest accrual while loans are in deferment or forbearance for borrowers who qualify for these payment delay options. Read a copy of the letter.

This legislation will be discussed during ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day. Help your colleagues headed to the Hill by encouraging your legislators to co-sponsor the bill now. Take action today.
from Washington
President unveils 2020 budget

What's the issue?

On March 11, the White House Office of Management and Budget released President Trump's budget for 2020. The proposed budget reduces spending in key areas important to the dental profession.
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH works to prevent, detect, diagnose and treat disease.
    • Cuts funding by $4.5 billion compared to the current 2019 budget.
  • National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR): NIDCR is under NIH and seeks to improve oral, dental and craniofacial health through research, training and the dissemination of health information.
    • Cuts funding by $64 million compared to the current 2019 budget.
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS): CMS works to serve Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.
    • Cuts Medicaid spending by $1.5 trillion over a 10 year period. To achieve this, the president is proposing changes to the Medicaid program that include establishing a Medicaid block program and implementing work requirements.
Why is this important?

As health care professionals, you may rely on the resources or services provided by the agencies listed above. Maintaining appropriate funding to these agencies is important to ensure oral health advances in the future.

Next Step:

from the States
Vermont introduces bill to expand dental coverage under Medicaid

What's the issue?

Vermont's bill, S.94, aims to encourage Medicaid recipients to use their dental benefits. In a  report submitted to legislators , the Department of Vermont Health Access stated that only 25 percent of adult Medicaid recipients received dental care in 2018 with just nine percent receiving preventative dental care.

This bill would double the cap on Medicaid benefits for adults from $510 to $1,000. Under this bill, two annual visits for preventative cleaning would not be counted towards the cap. Lawmakers hope that these changes will boost utilization rates.

Additionally, the bill calls for a work group to investigate the current Medicaid reimbursement rates for dentists. Stakeholders from the work group include the Department of Vermont Health Access, the Board of Dental Examiners and the Vermont Dental Society.

Why is this important?

As listed in ASDA's H-2 policy, the association supports evidence-based measures that are efficacious and sustainable in reducing barriers to care in underserved communities. Increasing access to preventative dental care can reduce overall healthcare costs by lowering emergency room visits.

Next Step:

Idaho passes midlevel legislation

What's the issue?

On March 25, Idaho Governor Brad Little signed dental therapy legislation into law. The bill allows trained dental therapists to provide dental care on tribal lands.

Under the bill, dental therapists are required to graduate from a CODA-accredited dental therapy program. Currently no programs have completed the full accreditation process yet.

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.

New Hampshire bill to ban fluoride in municipal waters

What's the issue?

On March 12, the House Resources, Recreation and Development Committee voted to recommend passage of House Bill 192. The bill would prohibit adding fluoride to municipal water systems. The bill has yet to be voted on by the entire House of Representatives.

Why is this important?

As listed in ASDA's I-1 policy, the association encourages the fluoridation of community water supplies as a scientifically-proven safe and effective means of preventing dental decay as recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service.

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.