Academy thanks senators for introducing bill to reauthorize Dental Health Improvement Act

May 29, 2008
Intent of act seeks to improve access to dentists in areas with a shortage of dental health professionals.

CHICAGO -- The Academy of General Dentistry has expressed its appreciation to the senators who recently introduced legislation to reauthorize the Dental Health Improvement Act (S 3067) for another five years.

Those senators are Susan Collins (R-ME), Russell Feingold (D-WI), and Benjamin Cardin. The intent of the act seeks to improve access to dentists in areas with a shortage of dental health professionals.

"Last week was a very good week for oral health legislation on Capitol Hill," stated AGD President Vincent Mayher, DMD, MAGD. "This proves that legislators appreciate the importance of oral health care as part of an overall health care regimen--a message our members continually share with lawmakers." 

If passed, the bill would reauthorize a program providing grants to states in support of innovative programs aimed at increasing access to dental health care in medically underserved areas. 

States can use these grants for efforts such as dental education, loan forgiveness and repayment programs, dental professional recruitment and retention, community prevention efforts, and other initiatives to help make dental services more accessible.

"Access to and utilization of care must be addressed from the perspective of patient needs, especially underserved patients who are in greatest need of competent care and exhibit complications and systemic health issues," said Myron Bromberg, DDS, chairman of the AGD Legislative and Governmental Affairs Council. "This bill will help achieve that goal in many different ways from outreach to parents on the need of their children to receive dental care to financial support for students to pursue a career in general dentistry," Bromberg added.

The AGD asks all Senators to co-sponsor this important legislation and help move it expeditiously through the legislative process. 

"We will be issuing an action alert this week to all our members urging them to start sending letters to their senators asking them to support this measure," said Janet Kopenhaver, AGD's Washington lobbyist. "Co-sponsorship of the bill will be one component of the AGD Scorecard of the 110th Congress to be issued at this session's adjournment," she added.

For more information about the AGD, visit Academy of General Dentistry.

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