Advocacy event spotlight
Rather than reinvent the advocacy wheel, learn from the leaders that have planned successful advocacy events at other chapters.

Missouri-Kirksville hosted a Student Lobby Training Event for anyone interested in learning about current legislative issues impacting the dental professionDuring the event, leaders reviewed important legislative issues and lobbying tactics in preparation for upcoming state lobby appointments. Students role played with each other as if they were actually sitting across from a political representative. The first step in planning for this event was to reach out to the full-time dental state lobbyist employed by the Missouri State Dental Association.   She skyped in during our meeting and presented on how to properly conduct a lobby appointment. She provided tips on how to present our issues based on a representative's political affiliation and voting history. To conclude the event, D2 Paul Wehner talked about his experience last year in Washington, D.C. at ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day and provided information about the 2020 Lobby Day.  

Want to learn more about this event? Contact the Council on Advocacy.

ASDA supports oral health literacy 
ASDA signed on to a coalition letter supporting the Oral Health Literacy Act. The bill authorizes the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to develop a 5-year evidence-based oral health literacy campaign across the agency's relevant programs. As stated in the letter, "Oral health literacy is a vital component in the fight against oral disease, which left untreated can result in pain, disfigurement, loss of school and work days, nutrition problems, expensive emergency room use for preventable dental conditions, and even death." 

ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day registration closes on March 27
Don't miss your chance to meet with legislators to advance issues affecting you and the profession. Throughout three days in Washington D.C., you will network with dentists from your state, hear from prominent speakers, meet with your elected officials and attend receptions. 

Talk to your chapter leaders to register by March 27. Learn more about Lobby Day.

FROM Washington
Trump releases 2021 budget plan

The issue:  On Feb. 10, President Trump released his proposed 2021 budget, which includes cuts to education and health programs important to dental students and the patients you serve.  Medical and nursing training programs are also not funded in his budget.  This is the third consecutive year he has made such a request.  It is important to note that the Congress ultimately approves the budget and in the past, they have increased or maintained the money allocated for programs that Trump proposed cutting. Please see below for more information on the proposed cuts.
  • Cut the education budget by $5.6 billion. This would include eliminating subsidized student loans and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. 
  • Reduce spending for the Centers for Disease Control Division of Oral Health by two million. 
  • Eliminate Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Oral Health Training funding. This includes the Dental Loan Faculty Repayment Program. Last year the program was funded at forty million. 
  • Reduce spending for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institutes of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) by $43 million.
Why is it important? These programs help fund research and training for dental professionals. Removing funding for these critical programs could reduce access to care for patients in need. 

FROM the states
California bill to regulate teledentistry companies
The issue: On Jan. 27, Assembly member Evan Low introduced the Dental Practice Act. The bill would require patients to see a dentist before purchasing aligners or other dental products online. California has already taken steps to regulate teledentistry practices. In September 2019, it became the first state to require x-rays to be taken before patients could undergo treatment from direct to consumer companies. 

Why is this important? As listed in ASDA's H-9 policy, the association, in accordance with ADA policy, strongly discourages the practice of Direct to Consumer Dental Laboratory services because of the potential for irreversible harm to patients. Requiring a patient to be seen in-person by a dentist prior to purchasing products online could reduce the potential risks to patients. 

Washington bills aim to reduce barriers to care for children

The issue:  The Access to Baby and Child Dentistry Program (ABCD) works with the
University of Washington School of Dentistry to offer increased fees to providers that give care to Medicaid eligible children under the age of six. 

HB 2905 would direct the program to create a formula to increase children under two receiving care and reduce ethic and racial disparities in the children currently receiving care in the program.  

SB 5976 aims to expand the program to include coverage for children with disabilities up to 13 years old. While a similar bill was adopted in 2018, the way it was written made it challenging to receive approval from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This bill hopes to address that issue. 

Why is this important? While children in Medicaid are covered to receive dental care, it can still be challenging for those children to receive the care that they need. These bills attempt to reduce those barriers. 

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.