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U.S. House approves oral health spending

December 12, 2014

By Craig Palmer

Washington — The spending bill passed by the House of Representatives Dec. 11 would support dental care, oral health research and residency training through fiscal year 2015. The bill represents bipartisan agreement to avoid a government shutdown.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CDC's Division of Oral Health helps states improve their oral health programs, encourages the effective use of fluoride products and community water fluoridation and promotes school-based and linked dental sealant programs. Funding at $15,749,000 is virtually unchanged from the FY '14 level. The Division of Oral Health also enhances efforts to monitor oral diseases such as dental caries and periodontal infections, contributes to the scientific knowledge regarding oral health and disease, guides infection control in dentistry and helps states improve their oral health programs.

The bill includes a $6 million increase to $216 million to expand CDC's successful media campaign "Tips From Former Smokers." The campaign features hard-hitting, graphic and emotional testimonials from former smokers living with the harsh consequences of smoking-related diseases.

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
Appropriators approved a $3 million increase to $399,886,000 for the NIDCR whose mission is to improve dental, oral and craniofacial health through research, research training and the dissemination of health information. Report language accompanying the appropriations bill cites a decline in caries rates for most Americans but disparities among some population groups and encourages the NIDCR to explore more opportunities related to dental caries research.

Health Resources and Services Administration
Appropriators approved a $1,900,000 increase to $38,924,000 for oral health training programs with $9 million set aside for general dentistry residencies, a $1 million increase, and $10 million for pediatric dental residencies, a $2 million increase. HRSA research shows that these residencies increase access to oral health services for underserved and vulnerable populations.

Children's Graduate Medical Education
The president's budget would have eliminated CGME funding. Congress approved $265,000,000, the same as the FY '14 amount. GME payments are also available to help train dental residents. Direct GME payments cover a portion of the cost of resident stipends and expenses, and indirect medical education (IME) payments cover additional costs associated with training. When dental residencies are located in a hospital setting, the hospital receives DGME and IME payments.

Area Health Education Centers
The president's budget would have eliminated AHEC funding. Congress restored funding at the FY '14 level of $30,250,000. The centers support academic-community partnerships toward improving distribution, diversity and supply of the primary care health professions workforce serving in rural and underserved areas.

Ryan White AIDS dental services
Funding will continue at the FY '14 level of $13,122,000. The dental reimbursement and community-based dental partnership programs provide oral health care for persons with HIV.

Military dental research
Funding will continue at $6 million. Military research units address dental disease and craniomaxillofacial battle injuries. The research detachment includes Army, Navy and Air Force officers in oral and maxillofacial surgery, periodontal surgery, plastic surgery, comprehensive dentistry, dental materials science and engineering, dental epidemiology, dental infectious disease and dental public health.

Indian Health Service
The dental account received $173,982,000, an $8,692,000 increase. The mission of the IHS dental program is to protect and promote oral health and prevent oral disease among all Indian beneficiaries.