The House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year (FY) 2023 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies bill by a 32 to 24 vote last week. The legislation includes a $28.5 billion increase over FY 2022 funding at $242 billion for FY 2023.
Several dental priorities were included in the House Labor-HHS-Education bill. The legislation includes $42,173,000 for oral health training, a $1,500,000 increase above the FY 2022 level, to be allocated to General Dentistry Programs, Pediatric Dentistry Programs, and State Oral Health Workforce Improvement Grants. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is appropriated $300,000 to continue its work on developing an oral health awareness and education campaign, marking the 5th year that funding for oral health literacy has been provided to HRSA. AGD worked with Representative Mike Simpson, DMD (R-ID) to secure funding. The legislation also includes language urging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to issue guidance for states on best practices for auditing dentists and dental practices participating in Medicaid. The specific language follows:
"Medicaid Dental Audits.— The Committee has previously raised concerns that failure to use professional guidelines or established State Medicaid manual parameters in the auditing process can result in inaccurate Medicaid dental audits, negatively impacting dentist participation in the program and impeding patient access to care. While State Medicaid agencies (SMA) have significant responsibility in managing provider audits, the Committee believes that as part of CMS oversight of the Medicaid program, it is appropriate to issue guidance to SMAs concerning best practices in dental audits and offer training in such practices. The Committee again urges CMS to develop such guidance for SMAs and looks forward to receiving the report on steps taken to develop such guidance as requested in House Report 117–96.”
Impact on General Dentistry: The AGD appreciates its congressional allies for working to include these specific dental priorities in the FY 2023 appropriations legislation. AGD has consistently, as a priority, expressed concerns to legislators and regulators about the inconsistent and often inappropriate manner in which findings are developed and enforced as Recovery Audits Contractors (RAC), (Medicaid Dental Audits) are performed.