Nine dental organizations including the AAO joined in contacting U.S. Senate leaders in support of the Action for Dental Health Act of 2018 (S. 3016), which would expand access to dental care in underserved, rural and Native American communities. The House of Representatives previously passed the legislation by a vote of 387-13.
The members of the Organized Dentistry Coalition sent a joint letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. The letter notes that the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee passed the bill by unanimous consent and urges that the bill be taken up on the Senate floor.
The bill will allow organizations to qualify for oral health grants to support activities that improve oral health education and dental disease prevention nationwide among those who are currently underserved. Charitable initiatives with large impact, such as Give Kids A Smile, would receive support. Ultimately, the legislation aims to reduce emergency room visits for dental conditions and would increase access to care for the elderly in nursing homes, as well as the blind and disabled.
In addition to the AAO, participating organizations include:
American Dental Association
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
American Academy of Periodontology
American Association of Endodontists
American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
American Association of Women Dentists
American Dental Education Association
American Society of Dentist Anesthesiologists