On March 15, 2022, AAO representatives including Dr. Stephen Robirds (AAO Trustee, Southwestern Society of Orthodontists), Andrew Wiltsch (AAO Associate General Counsel), and AAO’s federal lobbyists Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies, met with representatives of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to discuss access to orthodontic care for individuals covered by government sponsored healthcare plans, including Medicaid coverage of Phase 1 orthodontic treatments.

The CMS representatives included Dr. Natalia Chalmers, the agency’s Chief Dental Officer. Dr. Chalmers, who assumed her role last August, is a board-certified pediatric dentist whose past work includes transforming health care data and information into actionable insights to address equity, improve care, and better inform policy and funding.  “It is exciting to have such an accomplished and distinguished member of the dental community, whose interests and goals closely align with some of the AAO’s advocacy efforts, at the helm of an important agency like CMS,” said Mr. Wiltsch in regard to the opportunity to meet with Dr. Chalmers. 

The AAO Advocacy Team looks forward to continuing collaboration with CMS, as well as States’ Medicaid Departments, in order to address oral health equity and access to orthodontic care. For more on this topic, see the AAO’s Access to Care one-pager, available on orthofacts.org.