Around the ADEA Policy Center

ADEA Advocacy and Governmental Relations Portfolio — March 2015

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ADEA Launches New Advocacy Website

ADEA is excited to announce the creation of a new website to provide a one-stop source on advocacy issues. The website enhances ADEA members’ ability to get involved in advocacy through a simple system allowing them to advocate for important oral health issues. The new website,, includes an interactive state legislative tracking map and federal bill tracker. ADEA has provided extensive state and federal advocacy resources, as well as Canadian resources. Members may now gain a high-level perspective on issues relevant to oral health. Governmental relations information and advocacy opportunities are now accessible in one website to empower members to engage and be advocates.

The new ADEA Action Alerts update members about relevant legislation, rules, regulations and policies affecting dental education. In one step, members can send letters to their elected officials on issues concerning oral health and dental and craniofacial research, helping members become active advocates with more tools via the new website. 

The advocacy website features three main sections: federal information, state information and Canadian information. The site features relevant cases currently in the Supreme Court, as well as updates on government relations. 

The ADEA State Advocacy Toolkit provides resources about the operations of state legislatures, how a bill becomes a law, building relationships with legislators and best practices for advocacy. The ADEA Federal Advocacy Toolkit contains an overview of Congress, how to conduct face-to-face meetings, a breakdown of the federal legislative process, how to host site visits for members of Congress at dental institutions and tips for building relationships and communicating with members of Congress. The federal and state toolkits provide helpful explanations and overviews on budget and appropriations and how to get research funded.  

Members may also find the Find Your Elected Official feature quite helpful. If members input an address, the site returns names and contact information for all their elected officials, from the national to local levels. 

Protecting Oral Health in the HIV/AIDS Community: Academic Dental Institutions and the Ryan White Program

The ADEA Advocacy and Governmental Relations portfolio recently had record-setting attendance of more than a thousand participants for its February webinar, “Protecting Oral Health in the HIV/AIDS Community: Academic Dental Institutions and the Ryan White Program.” With more than 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States, this timely webinar focused on the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Part F dental programs and grantees and the key role that dental institutions play in improving the oral health and well-being of people living with HIV/AIDS. The webinar featured Dr. David Reznik, Chief of the Dental Service for the Grady Health System in Atlanta, and past member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. Dr. Reznik discussed the financial and administrative challenges faced by program grantees and ways to strengthen the dental programs. Persons living with HIV/AIDS persistently face barriers to accessing health care, including oral health services, and grantees are critical safety net providers. During the webinar, participants were able to access an early release of the ADEA Policy Center white paper, “Understanding the History and Securing the Future of Ryan White Dental Safety Net Programs.”

The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program is critically important because it is the largest federal program funded to exclusively treat low-income, underinsured and uninsured persons living with HIV/AIDS. It provides treatment for thousands of adults in the United States who need care the most. Webinar participants were encouraged to focus on advocating for increased funding levels, particularly Part F dental programs exclusively dedicated to increasing access to dental services for persons living with HIV/AIDS. The dental programs also educate dental students, dental hygiene students and dental residents to properly care for and treat the unique needs and conditions of people with HIV/AIDS. More than 46,000 people received care under the dental programs in 2013, and most lacked resources to pay. 

In 2013, dental institutions were only awarded 26% of their non-reimbursed costs, resulting in a total of more than $32 million in non-reimbursed costs. Given that program grantees are reimbursed for only a fraction of their costs, many institutions cannot keep up with the number of patients who require treatment. In addition, there are administrative requirements that add costs to schools and programs involved in the program. 

Future reauthorization and reorganization of the program will hopefully help streamline the administrative process and increase reimbursements. Currently, the dental programs are funded at $18 million a year, and we are asking for an additional $5 million to decrease the monetary loss providers take when treating patients. Additional funds would help close the gap between funding and non-reimbursed costs and increase access to needed dental care.

The webinar was well attended by policymakers, health professionals and dental providers, and it educated participants of the vital role that academic dental institutions play in meeting the dental needs of the growing number of persons living with HIV/AIDS in the United States. Discussion was especially helpful in providing guidance for how to best navigate patients to the correct resources. The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Part F dental programs have proven to be a key safety net for those with HIV/AIDS.

For a summary on recent federal legislative and regulatory news about oral health, dental education and dental research, read our ADEA Washington Update.

Keep up with recent state legislative and regulatory news about oral health, dental education and dental research in your state with the ADEA State Update.

Duggan Dental