Current Events

 

AGD foundation

AGD Foundation

The AGD Foundation was established in 1972 to improve the oral health of the public and support the efforts of general dentists and the AGD.

The mission of the AGD Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the AGD, is to passionately support the efforts of the general dentist toward improving the oral health of the public.

The AGD Foundation is strongly committed to promoting oral cancer awareness, risk factor prevention, and diagnostic training for general dentists that utilizes the best technology.

Oral cancer is the sixth most common form of cancer worldwide. More than 45,000 Americans and 4,000 Canadians were expected to be diagnosed in 2015 alone, resulting in an expected 9,000-plus deaths, or about one every hour.

Oral cancer is particularly dangerous, because it can go unnoticed in its preliminary stages. Early detection is key. In many cases, dentists often can identify its early signs and symptoms. The AGD Foundation believes the general dentist is the public’s first line of defense against oral cancer because he or she best can detect the disease in its early stages during routine periodic dental visits.

The AGD Foundation will continue to integrate free oral cancer screenings with oral health education for the general public at the AGD’s 2016 annual meeting, AGD 2016, which will take place July 14 to 17 in Boston. In addition, the AGD Foundation aims to provide the AGD’s 39,000 members with free or low-cost continuing education on the latest oral cancer identification techniques.

The AGD Foundation is proud to be an intellectual partner of the Global Oral Cancer Forum—an international assembly of passionate professionals focused on building awareness of oral cancer.

On March 4 and 5, 2016, in New York City, the Oral Cancer Forum will bring together an international and diverse group of individuals demonstrating passion and dedication to the fight against oral cavity cancer. The purpose of the forum is not to solve the problems of the world, but rather, an opportunity for international delegates, members of academia, government agencies, not-for-profit organizations, health care provider associations, and patient advocate groups to engage with one another as equal stakeholders. The forum will be the conduit for sharing the latest research and is critical to our success, to help catalyze change and spawn new ideas.

For more information about the Oral Cancer Forum, please watch this brief video:

It is the hope of the AGD Foundation that the entire AGD membership will help lead, both in their practices and their communities, in the fight against oral cancer.

Early detection, along with recognition and reduction of risk factors, can help increase the oral cancer survival rate. For this reason, it is extremely important for all general dentists to perform thorough oral cancer examinations on all their patients at least twice a year. Start screening your patients today, and join in the fight against this deadly disease.

The AGD Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charity; gifts to the AGD Foundation are fully deductible for United States federal income tax purposes, subject to the limitations placed on charitable gifts by the Internal Revenue Service. Be sure to check with your tax professional or attorney for specific, allowable deductions in your state.

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The FLAGD Board of Directors has approved the AGD’s new Workforce Position Paper, and encourages all FLAGD members to read and review this document.

Click here to access the AGD Workforce Position Paper


Click here to read and review the AGD White Paper on Access to Care and other documents relating to the Community Dental Health Coordinator issue.

The FLAGD Board of Directors would like to know how our members feel about this matter.  Please give us your views and opinions by contacting a Board Member or sending an email to flagd@flagd.org.


Minnesota has become the first state in the U.S. to pass legislation allowing the licensing of midlevel oral health providers.  Click here to read the Dental Mid-Level Practitioner bill enacted and signed into law in Minnesota last month.

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AGD Capitol Connections

February 22, 2016

President Obama Releases Fiscal Year 2017 Budget

On Feb. 9, 2016, President Obama sent his final budget to Congress, an ambitious $4.1 trillion proposal outlining the Administration’s priorities for FY 2017. In the budget plan, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requested level funding of $18 million for the agency’s Division of Oral Health (DOH). The CDC also requested level funding of $210 million for tobacco prevention and control programs. As part of this funding, the agency stated it will continue to evaluate trends and health effects of emerging tobacco products such as e-cigarettes.

Level funding of $35.87 million was requested for the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Training in Oral Health Care Programs. While funding was not specifically requested for HRSA’s demonstration program to train or employ alternative dental health care providers, the agency did repeatedly stress the need for innovative programs, such as those that encourage providers practicing in advanced roles, to address dental workforce shortages and underserved populations.

Impact on General Dentistry: The AGD was pleased to see continued funding for key oral health and oral health training programs, but was disappointed in HRSA’s calls for providers practicing in advanced roles. The AGD will continue its work carefully reviewing the President’s proposal to best determine the potential impacts it may have on general dentistry and critical oral health initiatives.

White House and Congress Look to Combat Opioid Abuse Epidemic

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more Americans now die every year from drug overdoses than in motor vehicle crashes, with a majority of those overdoses involving prescription medications. Opioids – a class of drugs that include prescription pain medications and heroin – were involved in 28,648 deaths in 2014 alone. President Obama’s FY 2017 budget aims to address this epidemic with a two-pronged approach. The first prong includes $1 billion in new mandatory funding over two years to expand access to treatment for prescription drug abuse and heroin use. Second, the President’s Budget includes approximately $500 million to expand state-level prescription drug overdose prevention strategies, increase the availability of medication-assisted treatment programs, improve access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone, and support targeted enforcement activities.

In March 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an issue brief entitled “Opioid Abuse in the US and HHS Actions to Address Opioid-Drug Related Overdoses and Deaths” which outlined HHS Secretary Burwell’s plan to address the opioid abuse epidemic. HHS believes that providers have the opportunity to play a key role in combatting opioid abuse. The agency has since taken steps to formally partner with doctors, dentists, and a number of medical specialty societies on this issue. The partnership will be based on a number of short-term and long-term goals that will be measured over the next five years.

Several bills addressing the opioid epidemic have also been introduced in Congress. One such piece of legislation, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (S. 524), may see floor action as early as next week. Reintroduced by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) earlier this month, S. 524 would fund state-level education and treatment programs for opioid addiction, as well as strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs.

Impact on General Dentistry: The AGD has agreed to partner with HHS to increase the number of dentists trained in opioid prescriber practices; to increase the number of dentists registered with their state Prescription Drug Monitoring Program; and to develop a public-facing awareness campaign for providers on opioid abuse and actions providers can take to help. The AGD is currently reviewing the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program requirements in S.524 to determine their impact on dentists.

Federal Tobacco Actions to Watch in 2016

2016 is shaping up to be a busy year for tobacco-related legislation, regulation, and executive action. Below is a summary of the most highly-anticipated actions.

  • FDA: Deeming Regulations – The most anticipated national tobacco action expected in 2016 are the long-awaited final deeming regulations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which will grant the FDA authority over electronic cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco and certain dissolvable products that are not smokeless tobacco.
  • FTC: E-Cigarette Advertising Ban – The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is currently considering a proposed study on the sales and marketing of electronic cigarettes, the first step in restricting or outright banning e-cigarette TV, radio or print ads.
  • Congress: Extending the Grandfather Date – Given that the FDA’s deeming regulations will likely require electronic vapor tobacco products to submit a premarket tobacco product application (PMTA), House Republicans are pushing back with a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services requesting the substantial-equivalence deadline be pushed back. Measures to exempt products already on the market from the PMTA requirement have also been introduced in both the House and Senate.
  • White House: Tobacco Tax Increase – In 2009, President Obama successfully passed a 62 cents per pack increase in the federal cigarette excise tax. For the last three years, the President has pushed unsuccessfully for an additional 94 cents per pack. It is expected that he will intensify his efforts in 2016 to get the tax increase before leaving office.

Impact on General Dentistry: General dentistry has long been on the front line of defense against oral cancer. In that vein, the AGD will continue to oppose efforts to exclude e-tobacco products from federal review and monitor any developments related to tobacco control and prevention.

In the States

Some state’s legislative sessions are already about to conclude, such as New Mexico’s, which ended on Feb. 18.  Other session end dates coming up include: Wyoming (March 4), West Virginia (March 5), Oregon (March 6), Indiana (March 10), Washington (March 10), Florida (March 11), Utah (March 11), and Virginia (March 12).  More information can be found at the AGD’s State Legislation page.

Here is a brief rundown of some recent state-level legislative activity:

In New Hampshire, HB 1693 would have abolished fluoridation in water.  The bill was voted Inexpedient to Legislate by the Resources, Recreation and Development Committee, and is subsequently dead as of Feb. 11.

In Maryland, SB 228 would require a dental practice to be owned, managed, and operated by a licensed dentist.  The bill was introduced by Maryland Senator Joan Conway.  The Maryland Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee held a hearing on the legislation on Feb. 19.

In Connecticut, HB 5133 describes the services dentists may delegate to dental assistants, and would, among other things, direct the State Dental Commission to adopt regulations to identify the types of procedures that may be performed by a non-credentialed dental assistant and a credentialed assistant.  The bill is sponsored by the Joint Committee on Public Health.

In Mississippi, HB 913 would revise the basis for determining Medicaid reimbursement rates for dental services, among other provisions.  The bill’s primary sponsor is Mississippi Representative Chris Brown, and it is currently before the House Medicaid Committee.

In Georgia, HB 684 was favorably reported by House Health and Human Services Committee.  The legislation would authorize dental hygienists to provide care in designated “safety net” settings.  The legislation is now before the Georgia House Rules Committee.  The AGD will continue to provide updates on this legislation as developments arise.

Thus far in 2016, the AGD is tracking a total of 131 bills.  If you would like more information on legislative matters in your state, or are interested in carrying out advocacy on AGD issues, please contact us atadvocacy@agd.org or visit the AGD’s State Legislation page.