May 2019 Volume LIV Number 3

 
 
 
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Legislative, Regulatory and Legal Update

May 2019 Volume LIV Number 3

Unless otherwise noted, for further information on any of these issues please contact Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel C. Scott Litch at (312) 337-2169 or slitch@aapd.org.

PEDIATRIC ORAL HEALTH ADVOCACY CONFERENCE IN WASHINGTON, D.C., MAKES A DIFFERENCE
On Feb. 25-27, 2019, over 300 AAPD members from 35 states plus D.C., advocated for children’s oral health in Washington, D.C., by visiting with their members of Congress. AAPD attendees includ- ed members of the Council on Government Affairs, PAC Steering Committee, Executive Committee, and Budget and Finance Commit- tee. Twenty-eight AAPD state Public Policy Advocates particpated as well. Forty-one pediatric dentistry residency programs were represented, with more than 200 residents in attendance. For the fourth year in a row, the AAPD held a special pre-conference advocacy orientation and training session solely for residents.

Attendees heard updates on key AAPD public policy issues focusing on Title VII pediatric dentistry funding and dental faculty loan repayment tax exclusion, along with a student loan residency deferment/interest accrual bill and promotion of fair and reasonable Medicaid dental audits. The keynote entertainment was the comedy troupe Capitol Steps, who delivered entertaining song, dance and monologues poking fun at both political parties and all aspects of the national political scene. Dr. Bruce Dye from the NIDCR provided a report on the planned update of the Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health, expected to be released in 2020. In addition to brief- ings from AAPD’s Washington representative Michael Gilliland from Hogan Lovells and COO/General Counsel C. Scott Litch, attendees heard a rousing and inspirational closing speech from Congressional Liaison Dr. Heber Simmons Jr. To further prepare for Congressional visits, attendees also witnessed a mock visit.

The AAPD PAC hosted a fundraiser for Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who serves on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Cassidy is a medical doctor trained as a gastroenterolo- gist. Prior to his political career he co-founded the Greater Baton Rouge Community Clinic, a clinic providing free dental and health care to the working uninsured. AAPD Past President and co-Con- gressional Liaison designee Dr. Robert Delarosa was privileged to serve as pediatric dentist for the Senator’s three children as they were growing up. As a Senator, Cassidy has been one of the few members of either partying advocating for bi-partisan, common sense health care reform. The event, co-hosted with ADPAC, AAOMS PAC and Hogan Lovells PAC, and augmented by individual contributions from AAPD attendees, raised over $14,000. The AAPD PAC also honored Congresswoman Rosa De- Lauro (D-Conn. 3rd ) as the Legislator of the Year. With the Democrats regaining a House majority in the 2018 mid-term Congressional elec- tions, DeLauro now chairs the Labor-HHS Eduation Appropriations Subcommittee and has been a major supporter of funding for Title VII oral health including pediatric dentistry.

The specific advocacy requests made by attendees during Capitol Hill visits were:
  • Fund Title VII Pediatric Dentistry. Provide FY 2020 funding of $40.673 million for the primary care dental Title VII program with $12 million for Title VII Pediatric Dentistry that includes funding for the Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Program. As part of this effort, attendees urged House Mem- bers to sign onto a Dear Colleague letter that began circulating the same week as our visits, spearheaded once again by Congress- woman Julia Brownley (D-Calif.-26th) that asked members to support Title VII pediatric dentistry. AAPD leaders, including several of our California attendees led by PAC Advisory Board member Dr. Mark Lisagor, thanked Congresswoman Brownley for her leadership on this issue during a lunch-time meet and greet at the ADA’s historic townhouse on Capitol Hill. 
  • Co-sponsor legislation to make dental faculty loan repay- ments non-taxable. Attendees urged co-sponsorship of bills re-introduced in the current Congress. As reported in the March 2019 PDT, HR 996 was introduced on Feb. 5, 2019, by Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y. 9th), Congressman (and dentist) Mike Simpson (R-Idaho 2nd), Congressman (and dentist) Paul Gosar (R-Ariz. 4th), and Congresswoman Grace Meng(D-N.Y. 6th). The Senate companion bill, S. 359, was introduced on that same day by Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
  • Co-sponsor the Residency Education Deferred Interest (REDI) Act, H.R. 1554, legislation subsequently introduced by Congressman (and dentist) Dr. Brian Babin (R-Texas 36th) on March 6, 2019. This bill would allow for borrowers in medical or dental residencies to defer payments and stop interest accrual during their programs.
  • Urge CMS to issue greater guidance to contracted Medicaid auditors concerning fair and resonable dental audits. This includes utilization of professional guidelines and independent peer-to-peer/specialist-to-specialist review (see Litch’s Law Log in this issue of PDT for more details on this topic).
 Fact sheets used in Congressional visits are available on the AAPD website under Legislative and Regulatory Issues in the Advocacy tab.

We sincerely thank all those members who took time from their busy schedules to attend this important conference. Many thanks to the state and district chapters which help support residents’ attendance at the conference.

For further information, please contact Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel C. Scott Litch at (312) 337-2169 or slitch@aapd.org.

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