A Healthy Blog

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

The People behind the Dental Cuts: “Oral health is the biggest part of my health care”

The People behind the Dental Cuts: “Oral health is the biggest part of my health care”

September 2, 2010

Beth (not her real name) is a hard-working woman who is also homeless and on MassHealth. She strongly believes that dental care is the largest part of her health care, despite a complex combination of health issue, including HIV, asthma, and epilepsy.

During a recent stay at a local homeless shelter, Beth’s dentures were stolen. She has a great relationship with her dentist, and trusts him to properly treat her, since he understands her entire medical history. However, with the recent changes to MassHealth, she can no longer see her dentist to replace her stolen dentures- she must seek out care at a community health center, and is understandably very hesitant to change doctors.

Although she is worried about her own care, Beth also recognizes the difficulties that the cuts to MassHealth dental place on other residents in the Commonwealth. In particular, she is worried that elderly people will be unable to get dentures, which will impact their nutrition and lead to other health problems down the line.

Beth was willing to share her experiences with key decision-makers in the state at a recent hearing in Boston. Personal stories like these are crucial in showing community members, legislators, and other state officials why dental care is critical to overall health. For more information about how YOU can speak up for oral health, please visit www.hcfama.org/oralhealth.
-Christine Keeves