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ADA supports Health Enterprise Zones Act

Bill aims to attract more dentists to underserved communities, improve access

July 26, 2021

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — The ADA is supporting legislation to improve health disparities in minority and underserved communities.

In a July 22 letter to Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Md., ADA President Daniel J. Klemmedson, D.D.S., M.D., and Executive Director Kathleen T. O’Loughlin, D.M.D., thanked the lawmaker for introducing HR 4510, the Health Enterprise Zones Act.

“We offer our strong support for this legislation as we believe that it is vitally important to address health equity issues such as barriers to oral health care so that all Americans have the opportunity to become healthy,” Drs. Klemmedson and O’Loughlin wrote.

“Dentistry is essential health care and integral to a person’s overall systemic health,” Drs. Klemmedson and O’Loughlin said.

If enacted, the ADA believes the bill would help attract more dentists to underserved communities through tax incentives, grants and student loan repayment options which would help more underserved Americans obtain access to dental care.

“Attracting more dentists to these underserved communities would also help expand oral health education and prevention and establish a permanent dental home for patients to receive both routine and complex care,” Drs. Klemmedson and O’Loughlin added.

Drs. Klemmedson and O’Loughlin noted that the ADA is proud to support the grant funding included in the bill for dental equipment and mobile dental clinics, which recognizes the important role that mobile dental units play in bringing care to underserved areas and populations.

“Community-based care like mobile units are integral to the ADA’s Action for Dental Health initiative,” they wrote. “Through Action for Dental Health, dentists are making a difference in underserved communities by reducing the number of adults and children with untreated dental disease.”

“The incentives outlined in the Health Enterprise Zones Act would amplify the ADA’s commitment to helping all Americans attain their best oral health,” the letter concluded. “Passage of HR 4510 would balance the scales and bring health equity to many Americans currently underserved in oral health care.”

For more information on the ADA’s advocacy efforts, visit ADA.org/Advocacy.