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Advocacy News

Senate Passes OAA Reauthorization that Includes ADA-Supported Oral Health Language

July 20, 2015 The Senate on Thursday passed the Older Americans Act (OAA) reauthorization bill (S. 192) by unanimous consent.

The OAA provides funding to 56 state and 629 area agencies on aging, which in turn provide services for older Americans to help them remain healthy and independent. Services provided by the aging agencies may include meals, transportation, job training, and preventive services.

For the first time since the OAA’s enactment in 1965, oral health would be specifically referenced in the statute. The new provision would allow state and area aging agencies to use funds for disease prevention and health promotion activities to conduct oral health screenings. The ADA supports reauthorization with the new dental language as an important first step. Oral health screenings are a critical component of more comprehensive preventive and restorative care necessary to improve and even save lives while reducing long-term healthcare costs.