September 2020 Volume LV Number 5

 
 
 
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PAC Corner

September 2020 Volume LV Number 5

In Challenging Times Support of the AAPD PAC is More Important Than Ever
 
I hope you have taken the opportunity to view our PAC appeal video as well as the 2020 PAC Annual Report, both available on the AAPD website at https://www.aapd.org/advo- cacy/aapd-pac/.
 
Like many AAPD members, I am just getting back over the past few months into the full swing of practice. Your PAC leadership knows it has been a tremendously challenging time for all AAPD members with the extraordinary impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The past few months have been stressful and emotionally and financially challenging, especially to that period of time when most of us were limited to providing emergency and urgent care.
 
I realize and understand that when you received your AAPD dues statement voluntary support for our Academy’s PAC may not have been at the top of your priority list. However, it’s the relationships we form through our PAC and through our legisla- tive visits in Washington, D.C., that make such a big difference in the oral health of America’s children and to our practices.
 
Our AAPD PAC slogan is THE BIG ADVOCATE for little teeth. Here are a few examples of legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts in recent months related to COVID-19:
  • Regular updates and advice to AAPD members regard- ing Small Business Administration loan opportunities: the Economic Injury Disaster Loans – EIDL – and the Paycheck Protection Program – PPP – created under the CARES Act.
  • A grassroots alert influencing Congress regarding the ap- plication requirements and deadlines of PPP loans. Many of our recommendations were included in the Paycheck Protection Plan Flexibility Act that provides more flexibility for timing of and use of funds.
  • The AAPD joined a strong coalition of dental organizations to request financial assistance for dentists from the Depart- ment of Health and Human Services – HHS – and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – CMS. This resulted in the release of $15 billion in Medicaid provider relief funds, with applications open in early June with an Sept. 13, 2020, application deadline that has been extended several times. The AAPD also provided technical assistance on these relief funds plus the additional relief funds allocated to dentists who are not Medicaid/CHIP providers.
  • Speaking of CMS, they issued guidance to state Medicaid agencies providing flexibility for tele-dentistry, and allow- ance of provider advance payments and rate increases in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Several state Medicaid agencies have also temporarily enhanced fees in recogni- tion of increased PPE costs.
  • In July, the AAPD joined the Organized Dentistry Coali- tion in a letter to the leaders of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives that outlines policy priorities to be included in the next COVID-19 relief package. This request for important support to dental practices includes:
  • Tax credits to small businesses for the purchase of ad- ditional personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety improvements
  • Temporary and targeted liability protection to small businesses
  • Additional flexibility for the Paycheck Protection Pro- gram (PPP) loans
  • Incentives for health care practitioners to work in health-disadvantaged communities that have been further undermined by COVID-19
We also continue work on our main legislative priorities—ob- taining Title VII grants to improve pediatric dentistry residency training programs, and ensuring that Medicaid dental audits are fair and reasonable for all. See the Legislative and Regulatory Update in this issue for the latest details on these efforts.
 
I truly appreciate the support so many of you have given our PAC over the years. Our issues and concerns remain regard- less of unusual and challenging times, and I hope you find a way to continued or new support of our efforts!
 
For further information about the AAPD PAC, please contact PAC Secretary C. Scott Litch at (312) 337-2169 ext. 29 or slitch@ aapd.org. A listing of all candidates supported in the 2020 Con- gressional election cycle will be included in the November PDT.
 
Dr. Cliff Hartmann, PAC Steering Committee Chair
 

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