On March 23, 2018, Congress approved a $1.3 trillion fiscal year (FY) 2018 omnibus appropriations bill, which will fund the government through Sept. 30, 2018. The agreement prohibits funding for the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) demonstration program to train or employ “alternative dental health care providers,” as authorized in section 5304 of the Affordable Care Act.
Specific to oral health, the agreement provides $40.673 million (an increase of $4 million over current levels), to include a $10 million set-aside for Pediatric Dental Residency programs and $10 million for General Dentistry residency programs. The agreement also stipulates that not less than $2 million be provided for the Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Program. Further, it directs HRSA to provide continuation funding for grants initially awarded in fiscal years 2016 and 2017, and issue a new funding opportunity announcement with the new funding.
$19 million was provided for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) oral health programs, an increase of $1 million over current levels. The CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health will be funded at $210 million, a $5 million increase over FY 2017 levels. Funding for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) was also increased by $21.98 million to $447.74 million.
Lastly, the legislation allocates $3.6 billion in new funding toward opioid abuse treatment, prevention and research and an increase of $105 million for the National Health Service Corps to expand and improve access to quality opioid and substance use disorder treatment in rural and underserved areas nationwide.
Impact on General Dentistry: The AGD applauds Congress for passing a budget agreement that responds to key components of the AGD’s 2018 advocacy agenda.