Congressman Vargas Introduces Enhanced Dental Care for Veterans Act of 2014

Washington, DC - Congressman Juan Vargas (CA-51) is introducing H.R. 5022, the Enhanced Dental Care for Veterans Act of 2014.  This bill will ensure that all veterans have access to enhanced dental care, authorize a pilot program to utilize community-based clinics for more extensive dental work, and provide dental health education to encourage prevention.

“Despite the critical nature of dental services as part of overall health care, access to dental care is unfortunately very limited for veterans in our current system,” said Vargas. “Our veterans deserve better.  We must work together in Congress to ensure that all our veterans have access to full health services."

At present, dental care is only available to veterans who are homeless, 100 percent service-connected, and those who are specifically service-connected for dental.  Lack of access to dental services has a pervasive and expensive impact throughout society as many Americans pay out of pocket for dental care, including veterans.

The Enhanced Dental Care for Veterans Act of 2014 would authorize restorative dental services for veterans including dental fillings, dental implants, and root canal therapy. The bill would also enable the Veterans Administration (VA) to conduct a pilot program to provide more extensive dental services through VA Medical Centers, Community-Based Outpatient Clinics, Federally-Qualified Health Centers, the Indian Health Service, and contract care to veterans enrolled in the VA’s health care system that are not currently eligible for VA dental care. Additionally, it will provide education to veterans to promote oral health, so more serious dental problems may be prevented, resulting in financial savings.

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