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Congress approves dental responder legislation

Washington—Dental responder legislation was on its way to the White House for expected presidential signature and enactment after bipartisan and final approval by the 113th Congress March 4.

The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013 makes dental entities eligible for carrying out certain educational and training activities pertaining to public health emergencies. States, at their option, may include dentists and dental facilities, including dental schools, in their public health emergency plans without mandating participation by dentists.

The 113th Congress moved quickly on the reauthorization of medical disaster and emergency response legislation, which included ADA-backed dental emergency responder language recognizing the importance of dentists and dental facilities to the nation's medical surge capacity. The House of Representatives approved PAHPA legislation Jan. 22 by a roll call 395-29 vote. The Senate by unanimous consent passed its version of the legislation Feb. 27, and the House cleared the final measure by a 370-28 vote.

Visit ADA.org for a legislative history and information on dentistry's disaster response capacity http://www.ada.org/2390.aspx.