ADA urges HRSA to prioritize dental workforce shortages, oral health disparities | American Dental Association

ADA urges HRSA to prioritize dental workforce shortages, oral health disparities

Washington — The American Dental Association is asking the Health Resources and Services Administration to prioritize several issues, including addressing dental workforce shortages and oral health disparities.

In a Feb. 15 letter to Carole Johnson, the new HRSA administrator, ADA President Cesar R. Sabates, D.D.S., and Executive Director Raymond A. Cohlmia, D.D.S., welcomed her back to the agency in her new role as administrator, and said the Association looks forward to working with HRSA on the following issues:

• Addressing dental workforce shortages through Title VII oral health training grants.
• Expanding efforts to increase the dental workforce in underserved communities through the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program.
• Continuing to fund the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program, including the National Students to Service Loan Repayment Program.
• Expediting Provider Relief Fund reconsideration applications.
• Improving public and medical provider education about oral health to meet the HHS Healthy People target for utilization of the oral health care system.
• Addressing oral health disparities to achieve optimal oral health for all people.
• Continuing to prioritize integration of oral health and primary care practice.
• Reforming health professional shortage area scoring.
• Addressing parity between dental case management and medical case management.
• Training Medicaid auditors to ensure that dental program integrity is fair and efficient without jeopardizing access to care.
• Ensuring loan repayment equity for early career-dentists in federally qualified health centers with added clarity on eligible health professional shortage area scores.
• Giving loan repayment to dentists collaborating with addiction specialists.
• Supporting medical-dental collaboration projects.
• Promoting the value of community water fluoridation.
• Addressing maternal and child dental needs such as sealants and access to care for pregnant women.

The letter concluded by urging HRSA to install a chief dental officer to oversee these efforts.

Follow all the ADA’s advocacy efforts at ADA.org/advocacy.