Volume IV, Issue:4
May 10, 2016

Promoting total health
through oral health . . .

It shall be the mission of the Texas Oral Health Coalition to promote oral health across the lifespan by advocating for optimal oral health for all Texans through statewide partnerships.
Table of Contents

Celebrate Older American's Month
Read below for updated news on the state of oral health for older Americans.

Texas Ranks #43, A State of Decay Report

Oral Health America recently released, A State of Decay: Volume III the report rates each U.S. state on edentulism, adult Medicaid dental benefits, community water fluoridation, basic screening surveys and state oral health plans. Texas ranked forty-third out of fifty states with a composite score of 22% resulting in a "poor" overall rating.  

Read the Full Report here
View the State of Decay Infographic Here

President Obama Signs Older Americans Act Reauthorization with Oral Health Provisions into Law

On Tuesday, April 19, 2016 President Barack Obama signed into law the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2016. This reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA) includes for the first time provisions for oral health. This reauthorization opens the door for state and area agencies on aging to use funds to improve the oral health of older adults throughout the United States.

Below, please read a brief summary of the changes created by the new law: 

  • 102 of the Older Americans Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 3002) is amended to include Oral Health in paragraph (14)(B).

"...For the purposes of this act... (14) The term "disease prevention and health promotion services'' means...

...(B) routine health screening, which may include hypertension, glaucoma, cholesterol, cancer, vision, hearing, diabetes, oral health, bone density, and nutrition screening..." 

  • 202. of the Act states:

"...(a) It shall be the duty and function of the Administration to...28 "...make available to States, area agencies on aging, and service providers information and technical assistance to support the provision of evidence-based disease prevention and health promotion services (which now includes oral health..."

The law also allocates funds to oral health

  • 303. of the Act states:

"... (d) There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out part D (relating to disease prevention and health promotion services (which now includes oral health) such sums as may be necessary..." 


Nearly 12 million U.S. seniors will benefit from the Older Americans Act funding; through the services they receive from state and area agencies.

This is a victory for millions of older Americans, and for the numerous groups, including the Center for Oral Health and California's coalition, Oral Health Action California, that urged U.S. Congress to include oral health in the reauthorization bill. Seventy percent of older Americans lack dental benefits, which are excluded from Medicare.

It is important for the oral health community to work with Area Agencies on Aging to identify and support best practices to deliver needed oral health care services.

Dr. Conrado Barzaga, Executive Director of the Center for Oral Health states, "We are proud of the collective impact of organizations across the U.S. that advocated for the inclusion of oral health provisions under this Reauthorization Act. The inclusion of oral health provisions is a first since the enactment of the Older Americans Act, we thank Congress for its strong bipartisan support in passing this bill, and thank President Obama for signing it into law”.

The Older Americans Act of 1965 was the first federal level initiative aimed at providing comprehensive services for older adults. It created the National Aging Network, which is comprised of The Administration on Aging on the federal level, State Units on Aging, and Area Agencies on Aging at the local level. The network provides funding supportive home and community-based services, disease prevention/health promotion services (now including Oral Health), among other programs. 

--Text from Center for Oral Health

Federal Watch

S 570 - Comprehensive Dental Reform Act of 2015

Amends titles XVIII (Medicare) and XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act to cover oral health services. Increases the federal medical assistance percentage for oral health services, thereby increasing payments to states under Medicaid. Directs the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to maintain a database of dental benefits available to adult Medicaid enrollees in each state. Amends the Public Health Service Act to establish, revise, and extend funding for grant programs for:

  • educating nondental professionals about oral health care;
  • providing dental services in hospital emergency rooms or in community settings;
  • providing scholarships and education loans for oral health professional students;
  • providing oral health services to low-income and underserved individuals;
  • building, operating, or expanding dental clinics in schools; and
  • providing mobile, comprehensive dental services at locations that serve individuals who qualify for benefits under specified programs.

Authorizes community based dental residencies. Authorizes specified agencies to conduct research on oral health issues through FY2019. Amends the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to make oral health services an essential health benefit. Removes restrictions on the authority of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide dental care to veterans (thereby requiring dental care on the same basis as other VA-provided medical care and services). Authorizes the VA, Department of Defense, Bureau of Prisons, and Indian Health Service to carry out demonstration programs to train and employ alternative dental health care providers in order to increase access to dental services. Directs the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the expansion of dental service coverage pursuant to this Act. Directs the Government Accountability Office to evaluate the implementation and utilization of expanded dental service coverage under this Act and the demonstration programs authorized by this Act.

HR 3099 - RAISE Family Caregivers Act

This bill directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop, maintain, and periodically update a National Family Caregiving Strategy. HHS shall convene a Family Caregiving Advisory Council to advise it on recognizing and supporting family caregivers. Federal departments and agencies must share with HHS any data they maintain that HHS needs to prepare the initial and updated Strategies.

HR 1411 - ENRICH Act

This bill requires the Health Resources and Services Administration to establish a program of three-year competitive grants to accredited medical schools for the development or expansion of an integrated nutrition and physical activity curriculum. The curriculum must: (1) be designed to improve communication and provider preparedness in the prevention, management, and reversal of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer; and (2) address additional topics regarding individuals in at-risk populations, as practicable, including physical activity and training programs, food insecurity, and malnutrition.

HR 539 -Action for Dental Health Act 2015

This bill amends the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize oral health promotion and disease prevention programs through FY2020. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may award grants or enter into contracts to obtain portable or mobile dental equipment and pay operational costs for the provision of free dental services to underserved populations. The CDC may also award grants or enter into contracts to collaborate with state, county, or local public officials and other stakeholders to develop and implement initiatives to: (1) improve oral health education and dental disease prevention; (2) make the health care delivery system providing dental services more accessible and efficient through the development and expansion of outreach programs that facilitate the establishment of dental homes; (3) reduce geographic, language, cultural, and similar barriers in the provision of dental services; (4) reduce the use of emergency departments by those who seek dental services more appropriately delivered in a dental primary care setting; or (5) facilitate the provision of dental care to nursing home residents who are disproportionately affected by lack of care.

HR 3323 - Dental and Optometric Care Access Act or the DOC Access Act

This bill amends the Public Health Service Act to prohibit group health plans and individual health insurance coverage from setting rates for items and services provided by a doctor of optometry, of dental surgery, or of dental medicine for which the plan or insurer does not pay a substantial amount. An agreement between a plan or insurer and such a doctor: (1) may only be changed with the doctor's acknowledgement and acceptance, and (2) may not last longer than two years if the agreement is for limited scope dental or vision benefits. Such a doctor must be allowed to participate in a: (1) plan or coverage without accepting terms for ancillary services or procedures, and (2) provider network without participating in a specific limited scope dental or vision benefit plan. Plans and insurers may not: (1) directly communicate with an enrolled individual in a manner that interferes with an existing doctor-patient relationship or a state or federal requirement, or (2) restrict such a doctor's choice of laboratories or suppliers. The bill establishes a private right of action for a person adversely affected by a violation of this Act.

HR 1677 - Dental Insurance Fairness Act of 2015

Amends the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to prescribe certain health care coverage value requirements for dental benefits under self-insured group health plans.

HR 3308 - Seniors Have Eyes, Ears, and Teeth Act
To expand Medicare coverage to include eyeglasses, hearing aids, and dental care.  Summary is under development.

ANOHC Member Webinar

If you are a TxOHC member you are cordially invited to attend this ANOHC webinar on Tuesday, May 17 at 2 p.m. Central time for an update from Oral Health America's President and CEO Beth Truett. Beth will share details about the new State of Decay report, as well as new state advocacy pages on, the Oral Health America Advocacy Day in September, and the new oral health provision in the Older Americans Act.

This webinar will be jam-packed with information and resources, so it is a don't miss event! 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the

TxOHC "Matching Challenge"

TxOHC is pleased to share that one of our members pledged $24,000 in financial support for 2017 that requires matching funds be acquired in 2016. If every member donated $100 in lieu of member dues, we could meet 100% of this required matching challenge by December 31, 2016.

If this amount seems excessive, any amount given demonstrates your commitment and support essential for our ability to meet the needs of Texas Dental Health Initiatives.

Donations for the “Matching Challenge” may be made via PayPal at, or please make checks payable to TxOHC Matching Challenge and mail to:

4614 Bowie Dr.
Midland, TX   79707
November 4-5, 2016

Texas Oral Health Summit

Wyndham Garden Hotel Austin
NEW Member Benefit

TxOHC is pleased to add a new tangible benefit for all coalition members.

We are excited to announce that TxOHC has entered into a Collaborative Stakeholder Initiative with Midwest Dental. TxOHC members will receive substantial price discounts on merchandise, capital equipment and laboratory services.

For each merchandise or equipment order placed with Midwest Dental in excess of $500, your name will be added to a drawing for a free TPC Portable Unit to be given away during the 2016 Oral Health Summit.

Learn more about this exciting opportunity here.
Midwest dental
Special Thanks To 

Platinum Sponsor


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