A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Oral Health

HPC: Dental Therapists Make Sense

We smiled brightly during the Health Policy Commission’s (HPC) July 5 meeting because the agency highlighted one of our top priorities, the lack of access to oral health care. In their first DataPoint analysis, HPC found 11.5% reduction in oral health-related hospital Emergency Department (ED) visits from 2013 – 2015. Read more »

Contact Your Representative - HCFA's House Budget Amendments

The state House of Representatives released their draft budget this week. The budget funds the state's MassHealth and other health programs, and includes many provision supported by HCFA. Our friends at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute released an outstanding summary of the provisions affecting low income residents, including MassHealth and other health concerns. House budget debate starts on April 24. Read more »

The Atlantic Shines Light on the Historic Divide Between Medicine & Dentistry

"Dentists still drill and fill teeth and physicians still look at the body from the tonsils south." Julie Beck from The Atlantic just wrote an article that highlights the importance of dentists working alongside physicians. Read the article here. Read more »

Oral Health Forum Makes Case For Integration

Last Thursday the Massachusetts Health Policy Forum hosted a forum entitled “Integrating Oral Health into ACOs.” This event brought together researchers and stakeholders to discuss the importance of oral health integration. Read more »

House Debates Budget Amendments: Here's Our List of Priorities

The state House of Representatives began its budget debate yesterday, for fiscal year 2016, which starts on July 1. Over 1000 amendments have been filed (see the budget and amendments here). As usual in the House, the amendments are being considered in groupings by subject matter. The health care bundle is expected to come up tomorrow or Thursday. Tonight, a group of HCFA citizen activists will fan out across the State House, meeting with Representatives to discuss HCFA's priorities. Here's some of our top amendents for support in the budget - we urge you to contact your Representative today... Read more »

Governor Baker Releases 2016 Budget Proposal; Health Care For All Responds

Governor Baker released is first budget proposal today, for Fiscal Year 2016, which starts this July 1. You can read the budget bill and supporting materials here, and see the video of the press briefing. Like any budget, there's a lot to digest, and we'll have more to say in the coming weeks. Here's our initial statement distributed to the press:   Statement from Health Care For All's Executive Director AMY WHITCOMB SLEMMER REGARDING THE GOVERNOR'S FY 2016 BUDGET PROPOSAL   Read more »

Speak Up to Support Full Oral Health Benefits in MassHealth

Loyal readers of the Healthy Blog know: oral health is health, and dental insurance is health insurance. Cuts to MassHealth adult dental benefits are bad for health, bad for employment, and bad for long-term state spending. Yet in 2010, benefits in the MassHealth adult dental program were significantly cut. Currently, the only oral health services covered for adult MassHealth members are cleanings, extractions, and fillings. The result is damaging to health and quality of life in so many ways, as WGBH documented last year. Take Harriotte Hurie Ranvig, a MassHealth member who is 67, blind, and... Read more »

Oral Health Integration: Case studies from across the care delivery spectrum

Dental-medical integration is a response to decades of historic separation between two healthcare professions. The system has adapted to delivering care to people as two independent segments – one part mouth, one part everything else. But the thing is, our mouth doesn’t know it is distinct from our body and we’re the healthiest when we understand (and respect) the connection between our oral and overall health. Read more »

Oral Health Integration Case Studies Policy Brief - June 2017

Case studies illustrating key considerations for medical and dental integration. Read more »

As I See It: Flying to Asia to see a dentist?

Anh Vu Sawyer, Executive Director of the Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts and Health Care For All's supporter authored an op-ed that was published today on the Worcester Telegram and Gazette. In this piece, she shares her struggle to access dental care and her take on why oral health integration is crucial to improve access to preventive care especially for the immigrant community in the state. As I See It: Flying to Asia to see a dentist? As a director for the Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts, I am quite concerned about the health care disparities my... Read more »

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