Legislative updates from the American Student Dental Association

September 2013

Seth Brooks Message from the chair

Seth Brooks, Oklahoma '14, Chair, Council on Advocacy



As classes and clinics resume for 2013-14, the Council on Advocacy reminds you that this is a critical time for ASDA chapters to promote advocacy involvement. Students who are early in their dental school experience may be unaware of the issues facing dental education and organized dentistry.


To help you raise awareness during the next few weeks, I propose the following to help your chapters inform and mobilize its membership:

  1. Hold a lunch & learn: Plan an event where students can gather and learn about a specific issue, such as licensure, barriers to care, student debt, corporative practice of dentistry, or a particular issue your state dental association is working on. This is an opportunity for students to understand some of the challenges they will face both as students or new dentists. National ASDA provides information about these issues and how it impacts students at ASDAnet.org/advocate.
  2. Organize an "Advocacy Academy": Contact your state dental association's government relations department and work to plan an event where either their legislative staff or leadership visits your chapter and trains students on both the policy and politics involved within organized dentistry.
  3. Participate in your state association's lobby day: Most students are welcomed to participate in state associations lobby day activities. ASDA offers the State Lobby Day Grant, intended to support advocacy at the local level. A maximum of $500 will be awarded per chapter, up to six chapters, who demonstrate a need for financial support to organize a state lobby day. (Applications for 2014 grants will be available in November.) 
  4. Host a lawmaker at your chapter: State and federal lawmakers want to hear from students and look for opportunities to connect with their constituents. Work with your school's administration to invite a lawmaker for a Q&A session at your chapter. These are great opportunities for students to experience advocacy in action.
  5. Attend National Dental Student Lobby Day: Your chapter is ready, they understand the issues and are prepared to voice their concerns. The next step is to join 300+ dental students in Washington, D.C., to meet with their congressional representatives and staff to lobby on behalf of all dental students. This video from the 2013 lobby day illustrates why this is such a critical part of the advocacy process. Lobby Day 2014 is April 7-8 (read here for more info).


If you need guidance on any of these tips or want to know more about the issues, contact the Council on Advocacy. Good luck and have a great year!

Sameet Gill ASDA provides comments to Massachusetts PGY-1 workgroup

Sameet Gill, Boston '14, District 1 trustee 


On Aug. 14, the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Dentistry (BORID) held a workgroup meeting to evaluate the implications of a statewide PGY-1 pathway to licensure. The workgroup, comprised of several BORID members and the deans from Massachusetts' three dental schools (Boston, Harvard and Tufts), is tasked with determining how to respond to the potential passage of legislation aimed at creating a PGY-1 option in lieu of a practical examination. ASDA members from all three dental schools were in attendance and provided written comments in support of a PGY-1 option. ASDA L-1 policy supports the completion of a one-year, CODA-accredited postgraduate residency program as a sufficient substitute for the clinical licensure examination requirement. California, Connecticut, Minnesota, New York and Washington currently offer alternative licensure methods.


Dental students from Boston, Harvard and Tufts attended the BORID hearing.
Emily Tschetter Hosting an ADPAC drive   

Emily Tschetter, Nebraska '14, ADPAC student director 


Public policy affects every aspect of your daily life, both professionally and personally. The American Dental Political Action Committee (ADPAC) allows dentists to combine resources to make an impact on policy initiatives related to dentistry. ADPAC is the American Dental Association's political action committee, dedicated to supporting federal candidates for public office who champion issues important to dentistry and dental patients. ADPAC raises funds to help elect candidates who understand the importance of dentistry.


By participating in ADPAC, you are supporting the growth and advancement of a policy environment to meet the needs of your profession and patients by supporting candidates who understand your issues and will work to influence legislation on your behalf.  


Read more about hosting an ADPAC drive

Ian Murray State licensure spotlight: California

Ian R. Murray, DMD, 2012-13 chair, Council on Advocacy 


There are three routes to a dental license in California:

  1. Graduate from dental school, pass the WREB, apply for a license.
  2. Apply for a license after completing a one year post-graduate residency.
  3. Work as a licensed dentist in another state for at least three years and apply for a California dental license.

I went for route one.  


My advice: As my clinical dean said frequently the "5 Ps" (Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance) will keep you out of trouble in dental school and this holds true for the licensure process as well. My experience with California dental schools is that not much emphasis is placed on teaching the licensure process until the fourth year. I can only imagine this is due to the fact that you also face two National Board Examinations and dental school graduation to qualify for a license anywhere. Your dental school's main purpose is to graduate qualified dentists, not to get you licensed. The licensure part falls on you, but your school wants you to be successful so they help where they can. Ultimately licensure comes from the state Dental Board and you must pass the licensure exam, currently the WREB, which may be hosted at your university, but all of the graders are imported. Read more about the licensure process.    


Read the rest of Dr. Murray's path to licensure in California on ASDAnet.org.
Kedy ShenSadaf Moghimi State Medicaid policy updates

Sadaf Moghimi, Roseman '16 and 

Kedy Shen, Roseman '16, 2013 ASDA Chicago Externs


California recently passed Denti-Cal, which will restore dental care for adult patients. The funding for the program is projected to begin May 1, 2014. The coverage will include preventive care, full dentures and restorations. California has experienced an increase in patients requiring emergency care at their mobile clinics and care days over the past four years since the Denti-Cal program was discontinued. Reinstatement of this program will save money and increase efficacy in patient treatment.


Colorado is rolling out their "Take 5" campaign which will encourage dentists to treat at least five Medicaid patients. This is the first time in Colorado that such a program is being implemented. The benefit is expected to begin mid-2014. Over the course of the next year, an additional 300,000 Coloradans can access dental care through Medicaid. Furthermore, the Colorado Dental Association worked to improved dental reimbursement by a rate of 4.5 percent, which began on July 1, 2013.


Minnesota recently reinstated private practice dentists as a part of their Expansion of Critical Care Program. Under this program, eligible clinics can receive a higher Medicaid reimbursement rate for seeing a higher percentage of Medicaid patients. This legislation mandates that if the private practice owner is within a health professional shortage area, generally a higher percentage of Medicaid patients are seen and therefore these owners are eligible to take advantage of this program.

Action for Dental Health seeks to move patients out of ERs, into dental chairs

More than 2 million people a year turn to hospital emergency rooms when suffering from dental pain. According to a recent ADA study, 41.8 percent of all ER visits for dental conditions were the result of dental caries. While emergency rooms can provide pain relief and treat infection, few hospitals have dentists on staff so they aren't able to provide comprehensive dental care. In fact, because the care patients with dental problems receive in hospital emergency departments is mostly palliative, there is a great likelihood that they will wind up in suffering the same problem again. Moving patients with dental pain out of the ER and into the dental chair ensures that they get the right care at the right place.


Source: ADA's August Advocacy Update

National Leadership Conference to offer advocacy track

The 2013 National Leadership Conference, Nov. 15-17 in Chicago, will feature several educational tracks, including one focused on Advocacy, Politics and Professional Issues. This track includes sessions such as "Workforce Models: Past, Present and Future," "Licensure 101" and "Current Legislative Issues." Talk to your chapter leaders about attending. Predentals: register online (day rates and full conference rates are available).





For more information, links to important resources and legislative videos, visit ASDAnet.org/Advocate.

Andrew Smith, governance and advocacy manager
ASmith@ASDAnet.org | 312-440-2795
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