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  WDA Healthy Choices E-Lert  
February 2012 | Legislative E-Newsletter

  Non-covered services legislation:
AB 251 has strong bipartisan support; ready for floor vote

With a bipartisan vote of 11-4, the Assembly Insurance Committee recently advanced AB 251 out of committee, and the bill is available for scheduling on the Assembly floor. AB 251 is the non-covered services bill, which would prevent dental insurance companies from dictating fees on services and treatments they don't even cover.

Non-covered services hearing
Racine dentists and sisters Drs. Nicolet and Francesca De Rose were among those testifying in favor of non-covered services legislation (AB 251) before a packed Assembly Insurance Committee hearing that went for five and one-half hours last November. Of those attending, 24 testified in support compared to just four in opposition; in addition, 12 registered in favor of NCS with seven against.

This is an important business and patient care issue for Wisconsin dentists, and the WDA would appreciate support in requesting this bill receive a floor vote in the Assembly as soon as possible. AB 251 has 41 legislative co-sponsors with a broad base of support among Republicans and Democrats. We are confident that when leadership schedules the non-covered services bill for a floor vote in the Assembly, it will be approved by an overwhelming margin.

WDA's efforts have focused on convincing leadership to schedule the bill for a floor vote in the Assembly with enough time to message the bill to the Senate, so the appropriate committee can take action in that house prior to the close of this session. We realize time is running out, but we remain hopeful that the large group of bipartisan co-sponsors on this legislation will be able to assist in convincing their leadership and colleagues that AB 251 is a common-sense piece of legislation that deserves a vote.


Dental loan assistance and forgiveness:
New legislation would recruit dentists to underserved areas

State Rep. Sandy Pasch (D-Whitefish Bay) has introduced legislation that would encourage new dentists to establish practices closer to Wisconsin families in need. Rep. Pasch's bill – currently known as LRB 3035/2 - includes an improved dental loan assistance and forgiveness program for new dentists who settle in Wisconsin's Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas.

Sen. Mike Ellis

As part of its Healthy Choices legislative agenda to reduce barriers to care, WDA supports creating a more meaningful loan forgiveness program for graduates of accredited dental schools who settle in DHPSAs, as well as a separate grant program for future dentists who agree at the time they start dental school to settle in a DHPSA.

We thank Rep. Pasch for taking the initiative to get this legislation drafted and encourage others to support this worthwhile effort to ensure that those living in rural areas, Milwaukee's inner city and remote parts of Wisconsin benefit from increased access to quality oral health care.

If you'd like to discuss this issue further, please contact WDA Government Services Director Mara Brooks at 608-250-3442 or mbrooks@wda.org.


WDA Legislative Day 2012:
'Tooth Party' advocates in the Capitol

WDA legislative initiatives - especially AB 251/SB 186, the non-covered services bills - were a hot topic Jan. 18 as dentists from across the Badger State gathered to visit legislators and staff in their Capitol offices as part of WDA Legislative Day 2012.

Legislative Day attendees, including dentists, Marquette University School of Dentistry students and association staff, heard from a variety of speakers before heading over to the Capitol, including Joint Finance Committee Co-Chair State Rep. Robin Vos (R-Burlington) and State Sen. Kathleen Vineout (D-Alma). Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch emphasized that Gov. Scott Walker's administration knows dental care must be a priority in everyone's lives. "We continue to look for ways to do things different, including how we make dental care available to residents," he said.

This new WDA-TV report on Legislative Day 2012 features interviews with dentist attendees and State Rep. Vos, one of 41 bipartisan co-sponsors of non-covered services legislation.


Give Kids A Smile® brings $945,000 in donated dental care to Wisconsin children in February

More than 5,650 low-income Wisconsin children are receiving approximately $945,000 in donated dental care in February as part of the 10th annual Give Kids A Smile®, a national children's dental access event sponsored by the American Dental Association and state groups like the WDA. GKAS® events are being held throughout Wisconsin in private dental practices, large-scale dental clinics and schools.

At least 475 Wisconsin dentists, along with dental team members, students, faculty and community advocates are volunteering their time and skills to get underserved children out of pain and treat dental disease and provide them and their parents with important personal oral health instruction. Since 2003, Wisconsin oral health professionals have donated in excess of $5 million in free care to more than 38,000 kids through GKAS®.

Follow these links to see media coverage of GKAS® events in Waukesha, Eau Claire and Green Bay.

"Dentists are glad to donate their time and skills, but charity isn't the most effective or efficient way of reducing barriers to dental care," said WDA President Dr. Steven Stoll, a general dentist from Neenah. "We also want to work with lawmakers to help the state make 'Healthy Choices' for the long term."

  See more photos from the 2012 GKAS® events in Wisconsin


Please join us:
'Twice as nice' Mission of Mercy coming to Madison in June

WDA Mission of Mercy

An estimated $1.75 million in free dental care will be provided to children and adults during some 3,500 patient visits on June 29 and 30 as the WDA Foundation and WDA team up for their fourth Mission of Mercy (MOM) at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. More than 1,500 volunteers - including dentists, dental hygienists, assistants and Marquette University School of Dentistry students - will donate their time and skills during the two-day charitable care effort, expected to be the largest Mission of Mercy ever held in the United States.

Legislators are invited and encouraged to visit or even volunteer at Mission of Mercy - conveniently located in Madison. The event is a moving and impactful illustration of the need to remove barriers and expand access to oral health care in Wisconsin. Watch for more on MOM in the next WDA Healthy Choices Legislative E-Lert.

Please feel free to contact WDA Government Services Director Mara Brooks at mbrooks@wda.org if you would like to tour the event this summer.



On behalf of the 3,000 member dentists of the Wisconsin Dental Association, I'd like to thank all of you who took the time to meet with WDA representatives during our Legislative Day in Madison on Jan. 18. Oral health is directly tied to overall health, and the health of its residents is important to Wisconsin economically and socially. Our members very much appreciated the chance to talk with legislators and staff on both sides of the aisle about ways to ensure Wisconsinites can access the oral health care they need.

This WDA Healthy Choices E-Lert reviews some important oral health initiatives currently being discussed in Madison, including non-covered services legislation – a widely supported bill that has now moved out of committee and is ready for an Assembly floor vote - and a new bill to help encourage new dentists to establish their practices in our state's underserved areas. If you have questions or would like to learn more about WDA's "Healthy Choices" plan to reduce barriers to oral health care in Wisconsin, please contact me.

Mara Brooks   Mara Brooks, WDA Government Services Director
608-250-3442 or mbrooks@wda.org
WDA Leaders

Steve Stoll, DDS

Tim Durtsche, DDS
La Crosse

Vice President
Julio Rodriguez, DDS

Immediate Past-President
Gene Shoemaker, DDS

Legislative Committee Chair
Eric teDuits, DDS

Wisconsin Dental Political Action Committee Chair
Dave Clemens, DDS
Wisconsin Dells

Executive Director
Mark Paget

Director of Government Services
Mara Brooks

Contract Lobbyist
Peter Christianson
DeWitt Ross & Stevens, S.C.

Contract Lobbyist
Forbes McIntosh
Government Policy Solutions

About the WDA

The WDA, established in 1870, is the dental profession's leading voice in Wisconsin. It has 3,000 member dentists, representing 85 percent of all licensed, practicing dentists in the state.

The WDA pursues a variety of activities and programs relating to advocacy, education, empowerment and service. All programs support the WDA's mission to promote professional excellence and quality oral health care in Wisconsin.


Executive Office: 6737 W. Washington St., Suite 2360, West Allis, WI 53214 | 414-276-4520
Legislative Office: 10 East Doty, Suite 509, Madison, WI 53703 | 608-250-3442
Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved.

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