Kentucky Health News
The Kentucky Department of Public Health is updating its Strategic Oral Health Plan for the first time in a decade and is inviting stakeholders and other interested parties to help.
“The final product is one for everyone to use, not just government programs or dentists,” Julie Watts McKee, a dentist and the state's dental director, said in a news release. “It is a handbook for anyone that is interested in healthier mouths. We hope that schools, universities, health plans and individuals will see something they can act on.”
The meeting to update the plan will be May 31 and June 1 at the Downtown Lexington Hilton. There is no cost to attend, but registration is required. Both stakeholders and the general public are invited to attend. Click here to register.
The meeting calls for stakeholders to participate in creating "new ideas and opportunities that will result in the improvement of oral health for all Kentuckians." Attendees, with the help of professional facilitators, will decide on what aspects of dental care and dental health should be priorities for the state.
The Kentucky Oral Health Program has limited financial support for consumers and parents of minor children who would like to participate. If interested in learning more about this, please call Bill Bishop at (502)564-2154, extension 4423.
Additional information about the campaign is available on the DPH website and is posted on the Cabinet for Health and Family Services Facebook page.
Some background reading before you go
Kentucky Youth Advocates and Delta Dental of Kentucky conducted a study of the oral health of Kentucky's children that found oral health in the state's school children is getting worse, even though access has improved. Click here to see the full report.
Another study by the State University of New York at Albany's looked at the state of Kentucky's oral health and noted that because dental benefits had been included in the Medicaid expansion, more Kentucky adults than ever had access to dental care, but finding a dentist was still a problem, and more than half of those with dental insurance weren't getting any dental care. Click here to see the full report.
However, this free dental benefit will no longer be available to low-income Kentuckians if the state's Medicaid waiver is accepted, which it is anticipated to be in June with the implementation date set for Jan. 1.
Instead, under the new Medicaid plan, Kentuckians who qualify for Medicaid under the expansion of the benefit to those who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line will be able to earn dental benefits through a rewards program. Oral health leaders in the state have publicly opposed this change, saying it will put some Kentuckians health at risk, and that reducing dental benefits will cost money, not save it.