ADA Encourages Biden Administration to Focus on Oral Health

Dentistry Today


The ADA is encouraging the incoming Biden Administration to prioritize access to oral healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter to President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, ADA president Daniel J. Klemmedson, DDS, MD, and executive director Kathleen T. O’Loughlin, DMD, MPH, outlined what they believe the administration’s priorities should include during its first 100 days, including:

  • Including dentist advisors in all appropriate posts to advise the administration about oral healthcare, especially a chief dental officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
  • Giving temporary and targeted liability protection to small businesses that follow applicable public health guidelines during the pandemic, including dentists who conduct FDA-approved tests and administer FDA-approved vaccines
  • Including dentists, who the ADA called essential healthcare workers, in Phase 1a of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution, in agreement with the recent recommendation by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
  • Reversing the Medicaid provisions of a recent interim final rule that allows states receiving additional Medicaid funding the flexibility to cut optional benefits such as dental healthcare for adults
  • Continuing to work with the dental community to address operating room access issues that have been further exacerbated by COVID-19 as hospitals were and are again being forced to limit elective surgical procedures to address the strain of the pandemic on operating room access
  • Reducing regulatory burdens on providers within the Medicaid program to help prevent dental providers from disenrolling in Medicaid during this period of increased utilization
  • Ensuring medical supplies such as surface disinfectants and personal protective equipment (PPE) are available when and where they are most needed during the pandemic, including all dental offices

The ADA also noted that it has urged Congress to consider another coronavirus relief package and has highlighted policies that are crucial to ensuring access to dental care as well as the safety and economic stability of dental practices across the country, including:

  • Providing tax credits to small businesses to purchase additional PPE and make additional safety improvements
  • Extend the deferment of payments and interest on federal student loans and consider policies that would provide deferments for privately held student loans
  • Provide additional flexibility for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, which 90% of the dentists whom the ADA surveyed applied for
  • Allow PPP borrowers to deduct expenses paid for with PPP loans, take advantage of the Employee Retention Tax Credit, use a more streamlined forgiveness process, and access additional PPP loans, permit 501(c)(6) organizations to apply for new PPP funds, and use future PPP loans to purchase PPE
  • Incentivize healthcare practitioners to work in health-disadvantaged communities that have been further undermined by COVID-19 by providing tax credits, federal grants, additional student loan repayment, and other assistance
  • Protect the public health infrastructure, which includes expanding and extending funding for community health centers, teaching health centers, and the National Health Service Corps

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