ADA seeks clarification from HHS regarding chief dental officer

Washington — The American Dental Association is applauding the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ decision to appoint a chief dental officer at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services but would like to confirm the position is exclusive to CMS.

“This announcement is most welcome news to the dental community and we are also grateful to hear of your passion for oral health and its importance to overall health,” wrote ADA President Chad P. Gehani and Executive Director Kathleen T. O’Loughlin in a March 5 letter to HHS Secretary Alex M. Azar II.

“We also seek clarification on whether this position will be a shared position with the Health Resources and Services Administration. We are concerned that having one person in both roles will diminish the ability of the CMS [chief dental officer] to fully oversee oral health within the agency,” they wrote.

“As you know, the chief dental officer at CMS is charged with providing oral health expertise and support for Medicare, Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program,” the letter continued. “Together these three programs provide health care to millions of Americans, including children, pregnant women, and older Americans.”

“While oral health in the United States has improved overall in the past several decades, there is still much work to do, and we hope the next chief dental officer will work to build upon the progress that has been made. We also seek clarification on timing of this new appointment and when an official announcement on who has been appointed will take place,” it concluded.

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