A Healthy Blog

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

Oral Health

October is Children’s Health Month!

The National Wellness Institute, an organization that provides health promotion and wellness professionals resources and services, declares October as Children's Health Month. The Watch Your Mouth campaign wants to take this opportunity to celebrate Children’s health month by highlighting the importance of children’s oral health. Read more »

Dental Coverage Plays Important Role in Keeping Massachusetts Healthy

Kay Lazar’s August 7th Globe article, “Dental benefits widen, waiting lines grow,” demonstrates the important role dental coverage plays in keeping Massachusetts healthy. Her article highlights the changes needed to ensure access to oral health care for all of our residents. Let’s take a moment to look at how far we’ve come. Read more »

Last Dance, Last Dance, for L..........legislation

Today's the last day of the formal legislative session. Like every two years, the final days are a blur of activity as the House and Senate rush to get through an agenda that can't all fit in the time left. Both branches worked to midnight last night, and will again tonight. Here's where the key HCFA priorities stand: Health Cost and Quality: Yesterday both the House and Senate appointed a formal conference Committee to tie up the differences between the two bills. The House conferees are Representatives Walrath, Bosley and Hargraves; on the Senate side are Senators Moore, Panagiotakos, and... Read more »

Just Do It: The End-of-Session Legislative Agenda

The legislature turns into a pumpkin at midnight, Thursday, with the end of formal sessions. Legislation can still pass during the informal sessions which will continue through the end of the year, but anything controversial has to get through both branches by July 31. HCFA is working on a number of bills that have passed one or both houses, waiting final approval. With just a few days left, we urge the House and Senate to prioritize the following bills: Oral Health Initiative: S. 2819 is the historic oral health omnibus bill, which unifies dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants and... Read more »

Senate Passes Oral Health Bill; House Push Needed

A historic oral health omnibus bill, born out of a collaboration between leadership in Senate and the oral health community, passed the Senate unanimously Tuesday. Likened by Senator Tarr to the compromise achieved in health reform legislation, this bill unifies dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants and advocates in their quest to enhance the oral health workforce and strengthen the state’s oral health infrastructure. If enacted, Senate 2819 would do the following: Read more »

You better, you better, you BEST Oral Health Screening Program

Oral health is critical to overall health. Dental decay is a disease caused by bacterial infection and, in children, it is five times more common than asthma. Dental decay can profoundly impair a child’s ability to eat, sleep and concentrate. Studies have shown that dental decay is associated with increased risk for future decay as children grow to adulthood. Adult dental disease has been linked to a multitude of complex health problems such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and low-birth weight and premature infant births. Read more »

State Oral Health Plan Under Development

This week the oral health community from Massachusetts and beyond gathered for a two day summit in Sturbridge and set the stage for the creation of a five year, statewide plan to improve oral health. Also, next Wednesday, June 11 at 9:00, the Public Health Council (agenda) will hear a presentation by Lynn A. Bethel, Director of the Office of Oral Health in DPH on “The Oral Health Crisis in Massachusetts." Read more »

Save the Date! June 4th and 5th – Better Oral Health for MA

On June 4 & 5, oral health providers, advocates, and community leaders will convene at the Sturbridge Host Hotel for an important dialogue about oral health in Massachusetts. Oral health is a critical part of overall health; you can’t have a healthy body without a health mouth. Dental decay is the most common chronic childhood disease, and is linked to a higher risk for heart disease and diabetes later in life. Dental disease contributes to more than 51 million missed school hours and 104 million missed work hours every year. Fortunately, dental disease is almost entirely preventable... Read more »

House Budget - Day 3

After tackling Veterans Services, State Finance and Assistance, and Health and Human Services, the House took up Public Health programs late last night, and passed a consolidated amendment increasing funding for a number of important programs. Increases were included for environmental health, HIV, substance abuse, and teen pregnancy prevention. Funding for tobacco control programs was boosted by $1 million. An increase in the tobacco tax, such as the $1/pack increase passed by the House, leads to an increase in use of smoking cessation services. Tobacco prevention and cessation services... Read more »

House Opens Budget Debate

Yesterday the House began its debate on FY 2009 budget. With over 1500 amendments filed, the budget debate is expected to take most of this week. You can see the House budget and the filed amendments, summarized by topic, on the helpful House budget site. Last night’s topic was revenue-related amendments. We won victories as the House voted on two tobacco-related amendments. HCFA and the ACT!! coalition has been working with Tobacco Free Mass coalition on these issues. Read more »

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