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Senate passes dental responder legislation

March 09, 2012

By Craig Palmer, ADA News staff

Washington—The U.S. Senate March 7 unanimously approved and moved toward enactment dental emergency responder legislation that has widespread professional and bipartisan congressional support. S. 1855 would incorporate dentistry by name into the federal disaster response network.

The House of Representatives approved similar legislation by overwhelming bipartisan margins -- 401-12 on March 8, 2011 - in both the 111th and 112th Congresses, and the legislation in 2011 had the support of 15 national and 48 state dental organizations. The legislation imposes no restrictions or mandates on the states but provides additional planning resources. It clarifies that dentists may be considered voluntary disaster response public health workers and that states can incorporate dentists and dental facilities, at their option, into state planning.

The dental provisions are part of a larger bill, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act.