Two members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill last week that would allow dentists to respond to natural and man-made federal disasters.
Congressmen Bart Stupak and Candice Miller submitted the Dental Emergency Responder Act, which "calls for no new federal spending and establishes no new restrictions on monies now being spent."
"Dentists, dental personnel and dental facilities are found in communities large and small throughout the country and they would be valuable assets to our emergency response network," according to the act.
John S Findley, president of the American Dental Association, commended the bill and said it would bolster the country's capacity to respond to natural disasters or terrorist attacks.
"Dentists receive a sound general medical background during their professional education. With proper preparatory training in disaster response, their knowledge and experience can make them valuable assets," Findley said.
If passed, dental care facilities could be used as decentralized treatment centers and pharmaceutical distribution sites when hospitals are overwhelmed. Currently, disaster response plans do not identify the role of dentists other than victim identification and administrative support.
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