Associated Industries of Massachusetts and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts join Dental Care for Mass and push for dental therapy legislation

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

 

(Boston, MA) - The Dental Care for Mass Coalition, which supports legislation to authorize dental therapists (S. 1169/H. 2474), announced today that Associated Industries of Massachusetts  (AIM), Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and a number of other key organizations have joined the more than 60 organizations fighting for increased access to oral health.

AIM and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts join a coalition that includes AARP, Health Care For All, Massachusetts Senior Action Council, The ARC Of Massachusetts and many other advocates for children, families, seniors, and people with special needs—key populations who often struggle for access to dental care and who would benefit from the addition of a new class of dental therapists.

Dental therapists are mid-level providers who are trained to provide basic oral health care, including preventive and restorative dental care such as filling cavities. Working under a dentist’s supervision, they focus on underserved populations and can bring care directly to people in nursing homes or schools. As community-based providers, dental therapists deliver culturally competent, patient-centered care that mobilizes the strengths of underserved communities.

“We know good oral health is an important factor in overall health,” said Michael Caljouw, Vice President of State Government and Regulatory Affairs of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. “Dental therapists will allow our members to more easily get quality dental care that improves health outcomes. Access to oral health can reduce cost for emergency rooms and prevent other costly medical conditions.”

“Employers are looking for ways to improve care for their workers while slowing unsustainable premium growth,” said Rick Lord, President and CEO of Associated Industries of Massachusetts. “We support expanding the scope of practice for certain providers – like dental therapists – because doing so increases employees’ access to high quality, lower cost care for vital services. Innovative policies like this allow employers to offer better, more affordable insurance options across the Commonwealth.” 

“Dental therapists can address the persistent disparities in health care and expand access to critical oral health care ,” added Amy Rosenthal, Executive Director of Health Care For All. “Having dental therapists in the Commonwealth would also be a strong workforce development opportunity by providing residents from underserved communities with an opportunity to enter the health care field and learn a valuable, well-paying skill.”

Dental Care for Mass is a group of organizations united in support of S. 1169/H. 2474—legislation introduced by state Senator Harriette Chandler, Representative Kate Hogan, and Representative Smitty Pignatelli that would authorize dental therapists in Massachusetts, increasing dental access for vulnerable populations and making care more affordable.

Dental Care for Mass Coalition Members:

AARP Massachusetts

AIDS Action Committee

The ARC of Massachusetts

Associated Industries of Massachusetts

Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers

Autism Housing Pathways

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Boston Center for Independent Living

Boston College Immigration Integration Lab

Boston Foundation

Cambridge Health Alliance

Commonwealth Care Alliance

Community Catalyst

Disability Policy Consortium

Disabled American Veterans Department of Massachusetts

Father Bill’s and MainSpring

The Forsyth Institute

Harvard School of Dental Medicine

Health Care For All

The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts

Health Imperatives

Hillcrest Dental Care, Inc.

IMPRINT Project

Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston

JRI Health Law Institute

La Alianza Hispana

League of Women Voters of Massachusetts

Lynn Economic Opportunity, Inc.

Mass Home Care

Massachusetts Adult Day Services Association

Massachusetts Association for Mental Health

Massachusetts Association for School-Based Health Care

Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers

Massachusetts Coalition for Oral Health

Massachusetts Communities Action Network

Massachusetts Dental Hygienists Association

Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress

Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association

Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance

Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition

Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

Massachusetts National Organization for Women

Massachusetts Public Health Association

Massachusetts School Nurses Organization

Massachusetts Senior Action Council

Massachusetts Senior Care Association

Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

Mount Ida College

Multi-Cultural Independent Living Center of Boston

National Alliance on Mental Illness of Massachusetts

Partners For A Healthier Community

Pioneer Institute

Retailers Association of Massachusetts

The Pew Charitable Trusts

Revere CARES

SEIU 1199

Somali Development Center

South East Asian Coalition

Stand for Children Massachusetts

Stavros

StepRox Recovery Support Center

Union of Minority Neighborhoods