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Capitol Correspondence - 01.19.19

ANCOR Partnership with AADMD – Where I/DD Meets Medical

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ANCOR is sharing a story by Disability Scoop because it illustrates the need for legislation such as the HEADs UP Act, which was introduced in the past Congress to designate people with I/DD as a medically underserved population. ANCOR was a lead supporter of the bill, which awaits re-introduction in the current Congress. The HEADs UP Act serves as a piece of legislation that reminds the general population of the challenges that people with I/DD face in receiving proper medical care.  ANCOR is proud to share a partnership with the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD), another supporting organization of the HEADs UP Act.  AADMD will serve in medical advisory capacity to ANCOR and has already assisted its Government Relations department in learning about best practices in dentistry for people with I/DD. Stay tuned for more webinars and conference presentations driving from this wonderful partnership.

More from the Disability Scoop article:

 “‘Oral care in the U.S. is really a story of the haves and have-nots,’ says Jane Koppelman, senior manager of the Pew Charitable Trust’s dental campaign. ‘It is not a problem for the well-off, but it’s an incredible problem for people who are low-income.’ Since 2008, Pew has been studying dental health in America, and its research has revealed that about 30 percent of the U.S. population has no access to dental care. That number is disproportionately made up of low-income Americans. ‘Dental care,’ says Koppelman, ‘is out of reach for 125 million Americans.’ Cost is the principal barrier, but access plays a role too: ‘There are large pockets of underserved areas in inner cities, rural areas or other areas where dentists and other health care practitioners don’t care to reside or practice,’ says Koppelman.

Though there is little data on patients with special needs, specifically, ‘anecdotally,’ says Koppelman, ‘we have seen that the issue for special-needs populations is particularly acute.’ Patients with special needs are often unable to sit in a dental chair for routine care or longer procedures, and thus are more apt to need general anesthesia, which few dental offices can provide. In addition, this population may have a greater barrier to transportation and other basic concerns involved in getting to a dentist. Among the subset of dentists who treat patients with special needs, many treat only children, meaning that even those patients who can get care may age out of access to that service.

For patients or caregivers who have already navigated so many hurdles, finding a welcome like the one at St. Bernard can seem nearly miraculous. In a world that often answers ‘no,’ the dental clinic is a place built on ‘yes.’”