As Congressional negotiations on the FY 2016 federal budget continued through-out the fall of 2015, the AAPD, ADA, ADEA, and AADR sent a joint letter to Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee chairs and ranking minority members reminding them of the dental community’s funding requests, including $10 million for Title VII pediatric dentistry. Once again budget negotiations went down to the wire towards the end of the year, after passage of short term continuing resolutions to fund the federal government (since the new fiscal year 2016 started on October 1, 2016). In mid-December 2015 Congress finally approved an Omnibus appropriations bill. The $1.15 trillion spending package was approved by a margin of 316-113 in the House (150 Republicans joined with 166 Democrats to vote yes, while 95 Republicans and 18 Democrats voted no) and 65-33 in the Senate. The President signed the bill on Dec. 18, 2015, making it Public Law No. 114-113.
The AAPD was delighted to see the following report language which supports the AAPD’s top federal appropriations priority, Title VII pediatric dentistry training:
HEALTH RESOURCES AND SERVICES ADMINISTRATION
"Oral Health Training.-The agreement includes not less than $10,000,000 for General Dentistry programs and not less than $10,000,000 for Pediatric Dentistry programs. The agreement provides $875,000 for section 748 authority for the Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Program. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is directed to publish a new funding opportunity and then award grants in fiscal year 2016 from the funding provided."
Background: The authority to fund Pediatric Dentistry residency training under Title VII was first enacted under the Health Professions Education Partnerships Act of 1998. This expanded the existing General Dentistry training authority, providing "start up" funds to either increase Pediatric Dentistry positions at existing programs or initiate new programs. This has resulted in $70 million plus supporting over 60 Pediatric Dentistry programs, including 10 new programs. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Title VII authority was expanded to create a primary care dental funding cluster under Section 748 of the Public Health Service Act. Authority was broadened to allow use of funds for faculty development, predoctoral training, and faculty loan repayment. The latter initiative had long been advocated by the AAPD, on account of the significant difficulties in recruiting qualified individuals to fill faculty positions.
The AAPD thanks all of those advocates who attended the Public Policy Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C. in March 2015, which included advocacy for this program. The AAPD especially thanks Congressional Liaison Heber Simmons Jr. and Mike Gilliland and Kate McAuliffe at Hogan Lovells in Washington, D.C. for all of their efforts through-out the long budgetary process. The AAPD also acknowledges our joint efforts with ADA, ADEA, and AADR.
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