AGD-Backed Oral Health Literacy Legislation Passed in the House

  • by AGD Washington Advocacy Representative
  • Dec 8, 2021
On December 8, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to unanimously pass AGD-backed legislation, the Oral Health Literacy and Awareness Act of 2021 (H.R.4555). The legislation resulted from a multi-year AGD advocacy initiative and considerable collaboration with AGD's allies in Congress.

H.R.4555 was introduced in July of this year by Representatives Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL). The legislation was approved by the Energy and Commerce Committee's Health Subcommittee on November 4 and subsequently by the full Energy and Commerce Committee on November 17.

H.R.4555 amends the Public Health Service Act to direct the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to increase oral health literacy and awareness in specific at-risk populations through a multi-year public health education campaign. Through the campaign, HRSA will develop and implement evidence-based oral health literacy strategies that will be measured based on effectiveness and outcomes.

AGD has worked closely with the legislation's sponsors to have it advanced in Congress, and AGD's Immediate Past President, Dr. Bruce Cassis, DDS, MAGD, recently testified on the subject of oral health literacy and in support of the H.R.4555 at a recent Committee hearing on health legislation. The effort has been strongly supported by AGD's allies within the dental community, including many members of the Organized Dentistry Coalition (ODC).

With H.R.4555 approved by the House, it will now move over to the Senate for consideration.

Impact on General Dentistry: AGD is exceedingly pleased that the House has passed H.R.4555. AGD appreciates the many AGD members who were active in advocating for the bill's passage and looks forward to continuing the effort to advance the legislation in the Senate. Oral health literacy is one of AGD's key issues and was a priority during AGD's 2021 Virtual Hill Day event. AGD believes the enactment of H.R.4555 will positively contribute to more individuals seeking and obtaining regular dental care.