On April 22, the New York State Dental Association (NYSDA) hosted a virtual Advocacy Day with guest speakers Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried, chair of the Assembly Health Committee; Temporary President and Majority Leader of the NYS Senate Andrea Stewart-Cousins; Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate Michael Gianaris; and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.
The event provided a unique opportunity for dentists throughout the state to hear from some of the most influential political figures in New York, with whom NYSDA has worked closely for years and even more intensely during the COVID-19 crisis. All of these leaders have shown great respect for dentistry and played a leading role in helping dentists reopen their practices fully and safely this past June.
Assemblyman Gottfried has long advocated for the inclusion of dentistry in all publicly funded programs, including adult dental services in Medicaid. Last year, at the request of NYSDA, he helped pass a bill which requires corporations providing dental telehealth services to adhere to the same laws and regulations as those followed by office-based dentists. This bill is now law.
In recent years, senators Stewart-Cousins and Gianaris have made history by overseeing the transition of the NYS Senate into a substantial Democratic majority. This year, they led the successful fight to reject cuts to the Medicaid budget which had been proposed by the governor.
Lt. Gov. Hochul leads the state's economic development efforts. She was at the center of the governor's COVID-19 reopening plans and met with NYSDA's leadership last March to discuss the challenges the dental profession faced in reopening practices statewide.
One of NYSDA's most important missions is to represent the profession at the State Capitol in Albany. In order to do that, we need all of our members to become more active in the political process, especially at the local level. The NYSDA Advocacy Day was a very successful kickoff to a series of political events to be held in collaboration with all 13 of NYSDA’s local dental societies across New York State. It is our goal to host at least two events in each locality, to give members the opportunity to interact directly with their elected officials. If you are interested in participating, simply contact your local dental society. Please be aware that not all who express interest will be invited to attend as the virtual meetings with legislators are small and intimate.
Stay up-to-date with the latest advocacy news on our website at nysdental.org/advocacy.