Lobby days, such as Day on the Hill, are a critical component of an association’s overall advocacy efforts. Thousands of advocacy groups fly into Washington, D.C., every year to lobby on behalf of their cause or livelihood. Each group is there to compel legislators to support its priority issues, and support for its issues may conflict with issues of importance to OMSs.

Day on the Hill has played a role in the following recent advocacy outcomes:

  • House passage in April 2022 of the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act (ELSA) – ELSA which would require health insurers to cover treatment – including dental – for patients with congenital craniofacial anomalies. AAOMS has been working with a coalition of patient and provider groups to introduce ELSA in Congress and advocate in support of the legislation. ELSA was originally introduced in 2018, and Day on the Hill attendees have been advocating in support of the bill since. The coalition is currently working to pass the bill in the Senate.
  • Introduction of AAOMS-initiated legislation, the Resident Education Deferred Interest (REDI) Act, in both the House and Senate – The REDI Act would allow physician and dentists to defer their student loans during residency, saving them tens of thousands of dollars in interest. AAOMS worked with Congressman and dentist Brian Babin (R-Texas) to introduce the legislation in 2018, and it has been a Day on the Hill priority issue since. U.S. Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-Nevada) and John Boozman (R-Ark.) introduced the bill in the Senate in March 2022.
  • Improved facility payment for dental surgeries in the outpatient hospital setting. Coding limitations prevent hospitals and ASCs from being adequately reimbursed for dental procedures that take place in their facilities – As a result, hospitals and ASCs allot minimal time for dental cases, and patients might wait months to receive care for conditions that could become life-threatening if not treated in a timely manner. The 2022 Day on the Hill attendees asked Congress to urge CMS to act swiftly to address the issue. As a result of these and other coalition advocacy efforts, CMS responded by changing the payment classification for facility-based dental services that increases the facility fee for outpatient hospital settings. The coalition will continue to advocate for enhanced facility payment in the ASC setting.
  • Coverage of medically necessary OMS care for Medicare patients with acute medical conditions, in lieu of comprehensive dentistry in Part B – In 2021, Congress strongly considered legislation to significantly expand Medicare Part B Dental Benefits. The 2021 Day on the Hill attendees advocated virtually for Congress to focus instead on expanding medically necessary dental procedures. As a result of these and other coalition advocacy efforts, legislation to significantly expand Part B benefits did not advance. Meanwhile, CMS expanded coverage for certain medically necessary dental procedures for acute medical conditions as part of the 2023 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule final rule.