Open Wide - The Official Blog of The Chicago Dental Society

Permanent link  New VA health care bill includes pilot plan for dental care


Earlier this week, broke the news that the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act, which was signed into law on May 5, will include a three-year pilot program on providing dental insurance to veterans. Here is an excerpt from the article at

The insurance program will be voluntary, and the VA "will contract with a dental insurer" to administer the plan, charging premiums high enough to cover its cost.
VA spokesman Drew Brookie said he had no information yet beyond the text of the bill itself, which leaves unclear such key questions as where the pilot program will take place and how patients and providers can sign up.

Covered benefits will include at minimum diagnostic, preventive, endodontic, and other restorative services, as well as surgical and emergency services.

Currently, veterans are only eligible for dental benefits under one of the following circumstances: their dental needs result from their military service, their dental needs affect a covered medical condition, they are disabled or unemployable because of their service, or they are homeless or in rehabilitation. The VA directly employs a team of dentists. The new law specifically leaves these programs in place.

Under the terms of the new law, the pilot dental insurance program will start some time in the next 267 days and will last three years.


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Permanent link  HRSA needs dentists to serve as grant reviewers


Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services announced its new Oral Health Initiative. Part of that initiative will be funding dental programs within the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). As many of these grants will be competitive, HRSA is thus in need of grant reviewers.

Specifically, HRSA is looking for dentists, including private practitioners, with expertise in

  • Health professions training
  • Maternal and child health
  • Organ transplantation
  • Primary care for underserved people
  • Rural health
Grants are usually reviewed over the course of three to five days in Washington, D.C. All travel costs and logistics will be handled by HRSA, and reviewers will receive an honorarium.

Those interested in becoming a grant reviewer should out an online application. If you have questions or need more information, contact ADA staff member Dr. Steven Geiermann at (800) 621-8099, extension 2667, or (312) 440-2667.

Additional information from the ADA follows:

HRSA funds a variety of health care initiatives, including federally qualified health centers, maternal and child health programs, pediatric and dental public health residencies, and HIV/AIDS care.  

A vast number of the grants made by HRSA are competitive, which require grant reviewers.  An excellent way to learn about HRSA, its programs and the process that is involved in awarding grants is to be part of the review process. Your own success in helping get a future federal grant application funded increases tremendously after this experience. As private dental practitioners interfacing more and more with the public sector, this experience could be very informative, especially for those dentists working within, volunteering for, or advising federally funded programs.

Grant reviewers help HRSA select the best programs from competitive groups of applicants. Reviewers are chosen for specific grant programs, based on their knowledge, education and experience. Grant review panels are selected to reflect diversity of ethnicity, gender, experience and geography.

Reviewers use their expertise to objectively evaluate and score applications against published evaluation criteria. Reviewers gain understanding of the grant-making process while enjoying the opportunity to network with colleagues.


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