Immediately following National Dental Student Lobby Day in Washington DC, on Wednesday, April 15th, 44 MUSC dental students travelled to the state capital, Columbia, SC, for our annual State Dental Student Lobby Day. Joining these 44 students were 4 pre-dental students from the University of South Carolina and the College of Charleston, as well our dean, Dr. John Sanders and our advisor, Dr. Ted McGill. The South Carolina Dental Association greeted us at the capital and caught us up to speed on what the organization was currently lobbying for in order to help safeguard the dental profession in South Carolina. We were able to send notes and meet with our Representatives and Senators, express our appreciation for all the work they do on our behalf, as well as, discuss issues such as increasing student debt, funding for MUSC Dental programs, and the rural oral health initiative.
We met with several state legislators such as Rep. Jenny Horne (R- District 94-Charleston/Summerville) and Rep. Billy O’Dell (R-District 4- Spartanburg/Union) to discuss pressing issues such as the rising cost of tuition and the proposal for mid-level providers. They also talked to us about funding allocation around the state as well as the motivation behind the bills and initiatives that were being presented in the Senate that day. They also talked about the interwoven nature of the state’s infrastructure and the success of our state's economy, including the dental profession.
Steve Boucher, the director of South Carolina's Medicaid Dental Operations, discussed the increasing need for South Carolina to reform their Medicare/Medicaid policies by re-instating adult Medicaid and increasing reimbursement rates for these programs. Also, he is pushing to increase the procedures covered under these programs, such as restorative treatment, in order to keep this patient population out of the hospitals and routing them to a dental home.
We are so thankful for our legislators and for South Carolina Dental Association’s efforts to work on our behalf in order to help safeguard our profession, and help us students become successful in providing oral healthcare to people all around the state. What a great experience to expose students to the inner-workings of our state government and the importance of our participation in the legislation process. Thank you so much for everyone's participation! Can’t wait for next year!