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Support S. 1878. Expand Donated Dental Service-like Programs

Recently, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) introduced S. 1878, the “Coordination of Pro-Bono Medically Recommended Dental Care Act.” Many dentists participate in the Donated Dental Services (DDS) program and this legislation will help programs like DDS reach more patients. We urge you to contact your Senators today and ask them to co-sponsor this important legislation.

Medicare does not cover routine dental services and in this time of fiscal stress, all but a few states have eliminated or significantly reduced any dental coverage for Medicaid-eligible adults. Untreated dental disease, while causing pain and physical consequences itself, can also make it impossible to treat serious medical conditions that are covered by Medicare or Medicaid such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, and orthopedic conditions that may require placement of prostheses. Unfortunately, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has no authority to cover services that support the provision of pro-bono medically-essential dental treatment.

S. 1878 would create a grant program that will support national dental programs like DDS to coordinate medically recommended dental care for low income children and adults. The dental care will be provided by volunteer dentists at no cost to the patients who have medical conditions – like diabetes, cancer, autoimmune disease, kidney disease or need heart or joint replacements or transplants.

It has been estimated that the $2 million grant investment in this bill will return roughly $13 million in medically-necessary, pro bono dental treatment and help 5,000 Medicare and/or Medicaid beneficiaries.

Please visit the ADA website to access the automated form to urge your U.S. Senators to co-sponsor S. 1878.