In the beginning of March, American Dental Association President Dr Ronald Tankersley testified before the Institute of Medicine Committee on Oral Health Access to Services (IOM), explaining the ways that the organization is working to improve access to dental care for underserved populations.
Before outlining the ADA's new initiatives, Tankersley heavily criticized the IOM for its recent decision to exclude private practice dentists from two U.S. Department of Health and Human Services panels put together to study the nation's oral health delivery system.
"The nation's 167,000 private practice dentists represent some 92 percent of professionally active dentists in the U.S.," he stated. "Without them, there can be no significant impact on access to oral health care, regardless of the delivery system."
Tankersley recommended that the IOM create a public health advisory committee to study dental health policy as well as implement an association-wide initiative to address dental health needs of the vulnerable elderly.
The ADA president also lobbied the committee to support federal programs that could effectively improve access to dental care for the underprivileged.
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