Federal - S 466

Coordination of Pro Bono Medically Recommended Dental Care Act


March 5, 2013


This legislation would create a grant program that supports national dental programs which coordinate medically recommended dental care for low income individuals. The dental services will be provided by volunteer dentists at no cost to patients who have medical conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, autoimmune disease, kidney disease, or who need heart or joint replacements or transplants.

The legislation is needed because Medicare, which does not cover routine dental services, will not pay for the coordination of medically recommended dental care. Coordination will significantly facilitate the delivery of needed oral health care services to address dental disease that adversely impacts medical conditions.

Our Position



We believe the legislation will ultimately result in a cost savings because it will reduce Medicare and Medicaid costs. For example, kidney dialysis patients need to consume enough protein to stabilize their condition. If patients cannot eat properly, physicians have to insert a feeding tube. A 2001 study reported that the estimated one year cost of feeding a patient through a tube is $31,832. Under the legislation, a patient in this condition would receive free oral health services from a volunteer dentist and avoid the need of a feeding tube.

It has been estimated that the $2 million grant investment in the bills will return roughly $13 million in medically-necessary, pro bono dental treatment and will help 5,000 Medicare and/or Medicaid beneficiaries.

Original Sponsor 1

Co-Sponsors 5

Latest Actions See More/Less

  • April 28, 2014 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    Stabenow, (D-Mich.)
  • Sept. 18, 2013 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    Bennet, M. (D-Colo.)
  • May 20, 2013 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    Tester, (D-Mont.)
  • May 16, 2013 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    Landrieu, (D-La.)
  • May 14, 2013 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    Collins, S. (R-Maine)
  • March 5, 2013 — Read twice and referred to: Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.Congressional Record p. S1127