More than 800,000 people, including 120,000 seniors and 180,000 people with disabilities, are without access to dental care beyond cleanings, fillings, extractions, and full dentures. Left untreated, dental disease can lead to systemic infection, hospitalization, and significantly worsened medical conditions that would have been otherwise easily prevented.
- Support Senator Lewis’ amendment (#896) to fund full restoration of MassHealth adult dental benefits.
Individuals living with disabilities have particular oral health needs, including adaptive facilities and equipment, as well as providers with specialized training. The Tufts University School of Dental Medicine partners with the state to operate the Tufts Dental Facilities (TDF), which provide oral health care for persons living with disabilities in sites across the Commonwealth. Budget cuts to DPH’s Office of Oral Health since 2008 have made the continued viability of the TDF precarious.
- Support Senator Lovely’s amendment (#838) to allocate $500,000 in additional resources that will allow TDF to provide much-needed dental services.
Early Intervention (EI) is the Commonwealth’s most cost-effective program dedicated to serving children from birth to three years with developmental delays and disabilities. The program has a remarkable track record of limiting the need for more expensive, less effective services in later years with more than $27 million in special education savings attributed to EI services. The program serves more than 35,000 children and families each year through 60 EI programs statewide.
- Support Senator Lovely’s amendment (#839) to provide $28.4 million for Early Intervention services.
Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSH) provide medical services to a large number of low-income individuals and families. Recent budget cuts have resulted in a $34 million reduction in payments to DSH providers, including the elimination of $12.3 million in behavioral health funding.
- Support Senator Welch’s amendment (#791) to reinstate supplemental payments to support providers who serve low-income residents.