A Healthy Blog

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

Oral Health

Oral health stakeholders move closer to finalizing oral health plan

Yesterday, about 75 people from across the state met to discuss a new plan for improving the oral health of the Commonwealth. This movement, lead by the Better Oral Health for Massachusetts Coalition (BOHMA), is a broad-based statewide collaborative of programs, providers (dentists, dental hygienists, physicians and other health providers), lawmakers, state oral health officials, insurers, health advocates, policy leaders and consumers in communities from Cape Cod to the Berkshires. With a focus on improving access to care for all, reducing disparities and promoting equity in Massachusetts’... Read more »

Legislature Hears Dental Bill

Today the Joint Committee on Financial Services held a hearing for An Act to Include Fluoride Varnish Service in All Health Insurance Coverage in the Commonwealth (H. 1032 / S. 463). MassHealth began offering a fluoride varnish benefit through medical providers in 2008. These physicians are now able to apply fluoride varnish in the course of a well child visit to prevent dental disease. Currently, twenty-five states reimburse physicians for providing basic preventive oral health care for children during well child visits, the most common reimbursement being fluoride varnish application.... Read more »

Who is an Oral Health Hero? Find Out on Feb 25

The fifth annual Oral Health Heroes event (pdf) has been set for Thursday, February 25th! Please join us for a celebration in honor of legislators and community leaders committed to improving the state of oral health in Massachusetts. This year, the Watch Your Mouth campaign’s Oral Health Hero Award will honor legislators, community leaders and organizations that have improved the state of oral health in Massachusetts. Please help us by nominating a community hero(es) (individuals, organizations, or groups in Massachusetts) that have demonstrated: Read more »

Crucial Dental Benefits for Adults on MassHealth SAVED!

Health Care For All and the Oral Health Advocacy Task Force applauds the Governor’s continued support for health reform, including oral health. Although he faced many difficult decisions as he fought to balance the budget, and are grateful that he has preserved adult dental benefits in MassHealth. Oral health is a critical part of overall health- poor oral health is associated with other chronic health problems such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, low-birth weight, and premature infant births. Read more »

"We should be just as concerned about our commitment to our values as we are about the value of our commitments"

Citing a new mantra - “Leadership Through Values” - Governor Patrick announced $352 million in cuts to the FY10 state budget this afternoon. He described how he balanced his constitutional duty with his moral values: “Those values include creating good jobs at good wages, offering a world-class education to our kids, delivering quality, affordable health care to our residents, protecting and supporting the most vulnerable – those are the values to which we as a Commonwealth are committed. So as I meet my statutory responsibility to bring the budget in line, I do so according to my moral... Read more »

Dental Cuts are Dangerous (Updated - Dental Deans Agree)

As we wait to hear how Governor Patrick plans to make cuts in the state budget to make up for the $600 million dollar deficit, we are fearful that this will include crucial dental benefits for adults on MassHealth. The MassHealth adult dental benefits provide access to dental care for nearly 700,000 vulnerable adults, including more than 120,000 low-income seniors and 180,000 disabled individuals Read more »

Dental Cuts Lead to Death in Michigan

Last week, a Michigan woman suffered an entirely preventable death caused by a dental infection left untreated because the state cut Adult Dental Medicaid Benefits. A tragic story, but one that should serve as a warning to Governor Patrick as he contemplates 9C cuts. This woman lost her Medicaid dental coverage just days before a scheduled surgery. Although a local dental clinic planned to donate their services for the surgery, the woman also required hospitalization due to her disabilities, which Medicaid would not cover. As Massachusetts is poised before yet another round of 9C cuts, we... Read more »

Promoting Oral Health in Worcester

On Wednesday, UMass Memorial and HCFA teamed up to provide free screenings and fluoride varnish to kids ages 0-21 at the Auburn Mall. Children and their parents enjoyed receiving these services from great providers in a casual, accessible location. Read more »

HCFA to co-sponsor FREE oral health screenings

Help Your Kids Prepare for School Oral health is a critical part of overall health and significantly impacts a child's success in school! Join HCFA and UMass Memorial as we provide FREE screenings and fluoride varnish for children ages 0 - 21 years. The varnish is a protective coating that is painted onto a child's teeth to prevent cavaties. Click here to download flyer (.pdf). What: FREE oral health screenings Where: Auburn Mall Food Court 385 Soutbridge Street Auburn, MA 01501 When: Wednesday, September 30th, 4-6pm Read more »

MassHealth dental expansion for Family Assistance

Thursday is an important day for oral health in the Commonwealth. On October 1, 2009 MassHealth dental benefits will be extended to cover children under the age of 19 who receive Family Assistance premium assistance, in order to comply with CHIPRA regulations. A copy of the announcement can be downloaded here (.pdf). Regular readers know that oral health is an important part of overall health. Left untreated, dental disease can interfere with a child’s ability to eat, sleep, speak and learn. As we age, the implications of this disease become more severe. Decades of research have confirmed the... Read more »


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