Washington — The ADA is supporting the 21st Century Cures 2.0 Act, draft legislation to modernize the delivery of health care in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The draft legislation seeks to build upon the 21st Century Cures Act, which was signed into law in 2016.
In a July 16 letter to Reps. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., and Fred Upton, R-Mich., ADA President Daniel J. Klemmedson, D.D.S., M.D., and Executive Director Kathleen T. O’Loughlin, D.M.D., thanked the lawmakers for their work on the legislation and said the Association supports the following sections:
• Sec. 102, National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Pandemics: “It is critically important to develop a strategy to prepare for the next pandemic. Such a strategy should include ways to ensure that the problems that occurred during the COVID-19 response do not happen again, including lack of access to testing and personal protective equipment.”
• Sec. 104, Vaccine and Immunization Programs: The ADA told the lawmakers that it has worked to help dentists educate patients about the need for vaccination against COVID-19. “A public awareness campaign on vaccination would assist with this effort,” Drs. Klemmedson and O’Loughlin said.
• Sec. 201, Educational Programs and Training for Caregivers: “It is important to train caregivers on providing good oral health care to their aging, seriously ill, or disabled family member or friend,” Drs. Klemmedson and O’Loughlin said. “This training should be done through Community Dental Health Coordinators, or CDHCs, who are community health workers that focus on oral health education and disease prevention.”
• Sec. 202, Increasing Health Literacy to Promote Better Outcomes for Patients: “The ADA strongly believes in the importance of oral health literacy,” Drs. Klemmedson and O’Loughlin said. “Identifying culturally competent, evidence-based interventions is critical to improving oral health. CDHCs should also be involved in this work. Because many of them come from the same or similar communities in which they serve, they are uniquely positioned to help educate underserved populations on oral health literacy.”
• Sec. 502, Research Investment to Spark the Economy: “The ADA is a science-driven organization that agrees that scientific research and innovation are key to growing the economy,” Drs. Klemmedson and O’Loughlin said. “The funding provided in this section to the National Institutes of Health will continue research that was disrupted by COVID-19, including oral health research at the National institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.”
For more information on the ADA’s advocacy efforts, visit ADA.org/Advocacy.