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The Indian Health Service dental care workforce is reportedly facing a significant amount of retirements, which has caused the American Dental Association to ask for increased funding in an effort to recruit and retain these dental professionals.
The IHS dental department, which provides dental checkups and care to American Indians and Alaska natives, needs a funding increase that will continue as a "base in future budgets," according to the ADA.
"Additionally, the committee needs to specially allocate the use of these funds to the director of the IHS headquarters division of oral health," said Dr. John S. Findley, ADA president.
Sixty-five percent of IHS dentists will be eligible for retirement this year, though thanks to innovative recruitment strategies, the association has seen a slight increase in applications.
Some dental health recruiters told the association the rise in applications may be due to an online process that has been promoted at various IHS events.
The Friends of Indian Health, an organization consisted of more than 50 health organizations including the ADA, also told Congress an outdated pay scale discourages recruitment of dental and clinical support staff to the IHS workforce.
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