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Oral health programs on track to receive federal funding in 2017

July 14, 2016

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — The House Appropriations Committee approved the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education bill July 14, allocating important funding for many of the Association's key advocacy issues affecting oral health.

For the Health Resources and Services Administration, appropriators recommended more than $35.8 million for training in oral health care programs for fiscal year 2017. The appropriators also recommended the agency set aside $10 million for general dentistry residencies and $10 million for pediatric dental residencies and urged HRSA to work with area health education centers. Specifically the committee would like HRSA to focus on helping dental patients "establish primary points of service and address the need to help patients find treatment outside of hospital emergency rooms."

The committee also recommended that HRSA restore the chief dental officer position, noting it was "disturbed" that the agency has not maintained the appointment "in spite of the Administration's commitment in 2010 to establish the Oral Health Initiative, which highlighted several HRSA initiatives to improve access to oral health care, especially for needy populations."

The committee also recommended  $18 million for the CDC's Division of Oral Health.
Other oral health-related programs mentioned in the bill include:

  • The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research will receive $425.6 million, an increase of approximately $12 million from 2016.
  • Ryan White AIDS Dental Services will receive $13.1 million in funding.
  • The committee set aside $250,000 for the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant to develop demonstration projects to increase the implementation of integrating oral health and primary care practice.
  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse received $18 million for safe prescribing education programs and is encouraged to work with other federal agencies, such as CDC, to further engage the medical community for increasing participation in its online continuing medical education courses on safe prescribing for pain and managing patients who abuse prescription opioids.
  • Training in Oral Health Care and Rural Health. The Committee encouraged HRSA to work with states to "develop and facilitate public education programs that promote preventive oral health treatments and habits via increased oral health literacy in rural and underserved areas."