2016 State Lobby Day
On Wednesday, March 30th, 35 MUSC dental students traveled up to the Famously Hot capital for our annual Dental Student State Lobby Day. MUSC’s dean, Dr. Jack Sanders and MUSC ASDA’s advisor, Dr. Ted McGill as well as five predental students from the University of South Carolina participated. A few of the major topics of interest included increased funding for the special needs clinic, refinancing student loan interest, allowing dental students to access government subsidized loans, increasing the loan payback incentive for dentists practicing in rural areas, and opening the topic of the originally promised bond to keep tuition costs down.
We met with a variety of guest speakers including the South Carolina Dental Association’s (SCDA) Executive Director Phil Latham and Dr. Thomas Edmonds and marinated over the idea of ending live patient boards and beginning universally accepted boards.
The South Sarolina Republican Party Executive Director, Matt Moore, and Duane Cooper, the Executive Director of House Democratic Caucus, gave updates from each of the parties and discussed student concerns like loan refinancing.
Steve Boucher, the Director of Meidcaid Dental Operations for the SC Dept. of Health & Human Services, gave an exciting update from a dental health benefit initiated last year. The introduction to dental benefits for patients with Medicaid has remarkably decreased the number of dental emergency room patients. This helps redirect those funds into potentially expanding oral health benefits in the future.
After visiting with all the speakers, it was encouraging to see there are many people who are equally invested in our interests as future dentists to serve our patients and reduce barriers to care. We are so thankful to have had the opportunity to meet and speak with so many people who are helping to keep our profession strong. State Lobby Day was a fantastic opportunity for dental students to learn about the issues that our profession faces, and how to open a discussion with legislators and representatives through organized dentistry.
The legislation doesn’t end here. We will use resources like ASDA Engage to keep updated on the latest legislative movements in the world of dentistry and will continue to contact our local representatives about these issues. Next year, we’re looking forward to the progress made on all the topics we discussed this year!