The American Dental Association (ADA) recently voiced its support of a new bill that strives to expand access of providers to people who live on Native American reservations.
The bill, which was presented by Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) on June 8, is called the Helping Ensure Accountability, Leadership and Trust in Tribal Healthcare Act. The legislation would provide upgraded access to tribal health care by “providing for systemic Indian Health Service workforce and funding reforms.”
ADA President Carol Summerhays recently wrote a letter to Noem, expressing the ADA’s support of the bill.
"In addition to greater community-based prevention efforts, the ADA recognizes that a key factor for reducing oral disease is greater access to care by increasing the number of dentists in the program," she said in the letter. "Dentists know from working with the tribes that the actual need for dentists is higher than the IHS-advertised vacancy rates. This legislation takes steps in the right direction to encourage providers to serve in Native American communities."
Summerhays went on to thank Noem for introducing the bill, which would eliminate the Indian Health System Loan Repayment Program from gross income.