HEADs UP supports individuals with developmental disabilities

Association expresses ‘strong support’ for legislation


The ADA is expressing “strong support” for a bill that would authorize the Department of Health and Human Services to award grants to health centers that provide services to people with developmental disabilities, including dental care. 

The Healthcare Extension and Accessibility for Developmentally disabled and Underserved Population Act of 2023, H.R. 3380, allows the department to designate individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities as medically underserved populations. The change in designation would give individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities access to primary care and specialist services. 

The HEADs UP Act aligns with the ADA’s commitment to improving access to comprehensive dental care for those with developmental disabilities, the Association said in a letter signed by ADA President Linda J. Edgar, D.D.S and Executive Director Raymond A. Cohlmia, D.D.S. 

The letter goes on to note the ADA has long advocated for the designation of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities as a medically underserved population. It states that the inclusion of individuals with developmental disabilities in the definition of medically underserved populations under Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act will “facilitate the provision of critical health care services, including specialized dental care, through health centers and the National Health Service Corps.”

“H.R. 3380’s emphasis on enhancing dental care services by health centers and requiring specialized treatment for individuals with developmental disabilities is a significant step towards achieving equitable access to oral health care,” the ADA letter reads. “This bill’s provisions for supplemental grants will ensure that health centers can deliver the necessary services without supplanting existing resources.”

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