Legislative updates from the American Student Dental Association

December 2013

ASDA Advocacy: 2013 in review  

If you've been following the Advocacy Brief, you know 2013 was an active year for advocacy. Here are some of the biggest issues of the year and how ASDA has been advocating for dental students:

  • January: The Fiscal Cliff looms over the Federal Government 
  • February: IRS rules on medical device tax, which included dental devices; ASDA adds the device tax to its National Dental Student Lobby Day 2013 agenda
  • March:The sequester hits, ASDA tells you what you need to know 
  • April: 330 dental students visit Capitol Hill for National Dental Student Lobby Day and advocate for Congressman Tom Petri's student debt reduction bill, the Earnings Continent Education Loans (ExCEL) Act
  • May: Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska/Creighton and Nova ASDA Chapters are awarded a State Lobby Day Grant in order to participate in state dental lobby days
  • June: Thanks in part to ASDA Immediate Past President Dr. Colleen Greene's testimony, midlevel provider legislation is defeated in Maine
  • July: ASDA launches Engage; ASDA members send more than 900 letters to their Congressional representatives urging them to approve legislation that would lower the interest rate on federally-backed Stafford Loans (the legislation would ultimately be approved by President Obama)
  • August: ASDA submits comments to a Massachusetts Board of Registration in Dentistry workgroup aimed at evaluating a PGY-1 alternative pathway to licensure
  • September: ASDA responds to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging hearing, Dental Crisis in American: The Need to Address Cost
  • October: ASDA launches a webpage dedicated to awareness on the Affordable Care Act 
  • November: ASDA continues its licensure reform efforts in Massachusetts, submitting a statement in support of PGY-1 legislation to the Joint Committee on Public Health

What's on the horizon for 2014?

  • The California Dental Board will be continuing its work on developing the portfolio-style licensure exam
  • New advocacy resources, including "How to Hold an Advocacy Academy" and "How to Host a Lawmaker at Your Chapter"
  • Congress will be reauthorizing the Higher Education Act
  • National Dental Student Lobby Day will take place in April
  • ASDA will be vigilant for potential midlevel provider state legislation
Members at Lobby Day in 2013.


From Washington

The U.S. Department of Education has issued regulations intended to strengthen protections for borrowers. The final rules will require that borrowers seeking to rehabilitate defaulted loans must first be offered a monthly payment amount based on what they would pay in Income-Based Repayment (IBR), no more than 15 percent of the borrower's discretionary income. These regulations will make it easier for borrowers to get out of default and repay their loans by ensuring that the payments required to rehabilitate a loan are reasonable and affordable, as required by law. This rulemaking process has generated significant public interest, including the Nov. 5 New York Times article, New Student Loan Rules Add Protections for Borrowers

From the States 

State licensure spotlight: Alabama    

Dr. Ken Randall, Kentucky '12, 2011-12 ASDA vice president   


There are two ways to obtain a dental license in the state of Alabama:

  1. Graduate from dental school, pass a qualifying regional licensure exam and apply for a license
  2. Practice dentistry for at least five years (5,000 hours) in another state and apply for an Alabama license

My advice: research the licensure process in your state as early as possible. Collect all of the necessary supplemental materials to submit once you are eligible. Requirements for the licensure application vary depending on if you are applying as a resident of Alabama or if you are applying as a resident of another state. Download the application ahead of time so that you know everything that is required. This also applies to the regional licensure exam; make sure you understand the paperwork and rules of the road before you walk into the exam.


The basics: the requirements for the regional exam are that any exam can be taken as long as there is a periodontal portion on a live patient and an FPD preparation on a manikin. The exam must have also been taken in the past five years. Once your application to the Alabama Board of Dental Examiners has been approved, you will then be allowed to take the jurisprudence exam.


Dental school and National Boards: this is the most straightforward part of the licensure process. Pass all of your exams just as you've been doing since you started elementary school.


The regional exam: although I attended the University of Kentucky, I chose to take the Council of Interstate Testing Agencies (CITA) exam because of the specific states that accepted it (including Alabama). This meant that I would have to travel a significant distance to take the exam. While this was not a huge hurdle for the manikin portion of the exam, it added significant financial, logistical and ethical challenges to the patient portion of the exam. If you can avoid traveling, I would strongly recommend it.


Read more about these requirements and Dr. Randall's path to licensure in Alabama.

State Lobby Day Grant applications due Jan. 6

The State Lobby Day Grant helps ASDA chapters participate in state lobby day events. The more students involved in a lobby day, the more likely legislators will listen to our concerns. The grant provides a maximum of $500 per chapter, up to six chapters. The Council on Advocacy will judge applications based on information provided about the event's execution, funding sources and budgetary requirements. Applications are available online and are due by Jan. 6, 2014. Please contact Andrew Smith, governance and advocacy manager, with questions.

State policy update

The Washington State Legislature passed a 2013-15 Biennium Operating Budget following its 2013 regular legislative session and two special sessions. The final budget, more than $30 billion, includes funding for a comprehensive dental benefit for all Medicaid-eligible adults. Specifically, the state legislature set aside $23.3 million for this biennium to restore adult dental coverage. Adult dental Medicaid funding will be restored on Jan. 1, 2014. Currently, most Medicaid-eligible adults in the state only have access to emergency care due to several rounds of budget cuts, which began in 2009.  


Click here to learn more.


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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