New Bill Amends the Public Health Service Act

  • by AGD News
  • Dec 3, 2018
The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) applauds Congress for passing the Action for Dental Health Act aimed to remove barriers to access oral healthcare. The bipartisan bill, sponsored by Reps. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) and Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) in the House and by Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) in the Senate, received overwhelming support from both the House and Senate, and is expected to be signed into law by President Trump.

The Dental Health Act amends the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize oral health promotion and disease prevention programs through FY2022. It targets existing federal dollars for organizations that provide oral health to underserved communities, including children, seniors and people living in rural or urban communities. The Department of Health and Human Services may award grants to develop or implement these activities. 

“The recent passing of this legislation is an indication that Congress identifies the need to improve the state of oral care,” said Myron Bromberg, DDS, AGD Congressional liaison. “We hope that the Action for Dental Health Act is the beginning of efforts to support strategies that are already in play by dental professionals that make sure individuals receive quality oral care.”  

The new legislation opens the door to opportunities that will:

  • Allow patients to establish dental homes,
  • Decrease the rate of oral health related emergency room visits,
  • Improve oral health literacy and increase efforts to promote dental disease prevention through community outreach and case management,
  • Decrease the various barriers to receiving care such as language and cultural,
  • Expand dental care to nursing home residents.