AGD disagrees with HRSA report on dental workforce

The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) said it "respectfully disagrees" with a February 2015 Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Bureau of Health Workforce report on the national and state-level supply and demand for dentists and dental hygienists.

While commending HRSA for its thorough and thoughtful research on the future of the dental workforce, AGD President W. Carter Brown, DMD, said the report overlooks market forces.

"The HRSA report overlooks many market forces that influence supply and demand," he said in a press release. "We know that the economic capacity for care within the current numbers of dentists is far from maximized. There is plenty of appointment time available with the dentists and their teams. Factors such as the lack of the patient's perceived value for dental care and oral health literacy, transportation, and, frankly, fear of treatment are some of the biggest drivers of underutilization of care."

A response issued by the ADA Health Policy Institute, titled "Interpreting HRSA's Latest Dentist Workforce Projections," pointed to evidence of flawed demand modeling and unused dental capacity as reasons why future supply may be adequate. AGD said it agrees with ADA's response to the HRSA report.

AGD added that it has consistently advocated for student loan repayment initiatives, oral health literacy campaigns, and proven oral healthcare delivery service programs. Reducing overall barriers to care has been one of the focal points of AGD's government relations strategy, according to the organization.

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