Federal Entities

The federal government has several departments which influence dental care, including the Department of Health and Human Services (HSS). This department has many agencies described in Table 1 and Figure 5, which strive to provide a framework for health systems in this country.

Table 1. Department of Health and Humans Services Components.19

Department of Health and Human Services
Operating Divisions with Specific Connections to Oral Health
Administration for Children and Families (ACF): promotes the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals and communities through a range of educational and supportive programs in partnership with states, tribes, and community organizations.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ): supports research designed to improve the quality of healthcare, reduce its costs, address patient safety and medical errors, and broaden access to essential services.
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA): improves health and health equity through access to quality services, a skilled health workforce and innovative programs.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS): combines the oversight of the Medicare program, the federal portion of the Medicaid program and State Children's Health Insurance Program, the Health Insurance Marketplace, and related quality assurance activities.
US Public Health Service: protect, promote, and advance the health and safety of our Nation.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): part of the Public Health Service, protects the public health of the nation by providing leadership and direction in the prevention and control of diseases and other preventable conditions, and responding to public health emergencies.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA): part of the Public Health Service, ensures that food is safe, pure, and wholesome; human and animal drugs, biological products, and medical devices are safe and effective; and electronic products that emit radiation are safe.
Indian Health Service (IHS): part of the Public Health Service, provides American Indians and Alaska Natives with comprehensive health services by developing and managing programs to meet their health needs.
National Institutes of Health (NIH): part of the Public Health Service, supports biomedical and behavioral research with the United States and abroad, conducts research in its own laboratories and clinics, trains promising young researchers, and promotes collecting and sharing medical knowledge.
National Institutes of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDRC): improve dental, oral, and craniofacial health through research, research training, and the dissemination of health information.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): part of the Public Health Service, improves access and reduces barriers to high quality, effective programs and services for individuals who suffer from or are at risk for addictive and mental disorders, as well as for their families and communities.

Figure 5. Organizational Chart of Department of Health and Human Services.

Chart organizing Department of Health and Human Services.

The mission of HHS is to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans. That mission is fulfilled by providing for effective health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services. Strategic goals are developed every four years to help carry out the mission (Figure 6).

Figure 6. Strategic Plan of the US Department of Health and Human Services.19

Diagram showing strategic plans of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Additional federal departments impact dental care to specific populations such as the Department of Justice, by ensuring care for inmates, and Departments of Defense and Veteran’s Affairs, respectively, by assuming care for military and military veterans.