U.S. Surgeon General Lauds TEAM 1500 in its Effort to Stop the ADA

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Kenneth P. Moritsugu, M.D., M.P.H., the acting U.S. Surgeon General, encouraged a coalition of healthcare providers to continue in its efforts to prevent the American Dental Association and various state dental boards from adopting onerous new guidelines that would restrict the public's access to quality, affordable dental care.

Dr. Moritsugu clearly endorses and supports our commitment to access for all Americans to healthcare

Kenneth P. Moritsugu, M.D., M.P.H., the acting U.S. Surgeon General, encouraged a coalition of healthcare providers to continue in its efforts to prevent the American Dental Association and various state dental boards from adopting onerous new guidelines that would restrict the public's access to quality, affordable dental care.

In a letter dated April 5, 2007, Dr. Moritsugu praised TEAM 1500, a non-profit coalition of 1,500-plus healthcare providers that is fighting to prevent the ADA and some state dental boards from restricting the availability of a safe and effective treatment protocol known as oral conscious sedation. TEAM is an acronym for Trust for Equal Access Medicine.

"I would like to convey my appreciation for TEAM 1500's dedication to making quality healthcare available to call Americans," Dr. Moritsugu wrote. He noted that his responsibilities are "to advance the health of our Nation by providing the American public with the best scientific information available for improving their health, by advocating for effective health promotion and disease prevention strategies, and by articulating scientifically based health policy analysis and advice to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the President."

Dr. Moritsugu's letter to TEAM 1500 came in response the organization's call for the Surgeon General to take a position on efforts by the ADA to pass new guidelines that would effectively prevent hundreds of thousands of fearful and anxious patients from continuing to receive the increasingly popular form of treatment known as oral conscious sedation, or OCS.

OCS is a safe and effective protocol for relieving the stress of dental visits through the administration of a mild oral sedative that has been on the market for decades and is in wide use by both general dentists and medical doctors. More than one million previously hesitant dental patients have relieved their anxiety thanks to family dentists who offer OCS.

In a landmark report on the nation's oral health, Dr. David Satcher, the U.S. Surgeon General in 2000, challenged the healthcare community to embrace innovative methods to reach out to the tens of millions of Americans who lack adequate access to dental care.

One group of dentists who heeded Dr. Satcher's call were oral conscious sedation dentists, who have had enormous success in serving the very communities most in need of improved dental care, including the poor, the elderly and members of certain racial and ethnic groups, TEAM 1500 noted.

In appealing to Dr. Moritsugu to use the weight of his office to highlight the hypocrisy of the ADA's proposals, TEAM 1500 pointed to more than 1,000 dentists and patients who have also written letters of protest to the ADA.

"While the public at large generally believes the ADA's function is to protect its interests, the dental association has succumbed to internal political pressures and is instead trying to reverse progress to appease a small minority of self-interested dentists," says Dean Rotbart, director of TEAM 1500.

"Dr. Moritsugu clearly endorses and supports our commitment to access for all Americans to healthcare," Rotbart adds. "We hope the ADA will eventually come to its senses and also do what is right by the American people."

According to its mission statement, TEAM 1500 "believe that undue and burdensome regulation of healthcare professionals disproportionately impacts the poor and minorities and raises the cost of quality medical and dental care for all Americans."

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DEAN ROTBART
TEAM 1500
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