U.S. Senate bill would boost oral health improvement efforts
Article Thumbnail ImageJune 22, 2012 -- The U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations has approved a 2013 fiscal year funding bill that includes several oral health provisions authorized by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) more than two years ago.
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Funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Oral Health would increase by nearly $4 million. This would enable the agency to bolster state-level oral health improvement efforts, according to the Children's Dental Health Project. An education campaign and a conference to examine prevention measures for early childhood caries, both outlined in the ACA, also would receive funding.

In addition, the committee called upon the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to change Medicaid regulations pertaining to dental hygienists, urging the organization to allow them to provide basic care outside of dental practices, in an effort to increase preventive care.

Health Resources and Services Administration's (HRSA) Rural Healthcare Services Outreach Grants would receive funding for programs explaining the cost disparity between preventive care and emergency room visits. Instructional oral hygiene maintenance and public health dentistry training programs operated by HRSA also would receive funding.

The bill also includes $1.5 million in increased funding for the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant, which works to improve access to care.