A Healthy Blog

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

Oral Health

One-Two From Patrick Adminstration

This week the Patrick administration reaffirmed its commitment to health care in the Commonwealth. First, the Governor's State of the Commonwealth speech focused on payment and delivery system reforms that will stem the rising costs of health care: Read more »

MassHealth Dental Benefits Bill Advances; WS Journal Explains Why

Last week the legislature's Joint Committee on Public Health gave its approval to S. 1079, legislation filed by Senator Harriette Chandler to restore full dental benefits to adults on MassHealth. Some 700,000 adults, including low income seniors, disabled adults, and people with serious chronic disease lost full dental benefits over a year ago. We thanks the Co-Chairs of the Public Health Committee, Rep. Sanchez and Senator Fargo, for supporting advancement of this bill. The bill moves to the Health Care Financing Committee. Read more »

Leading the way for Better Oral Health Access in Massachusetts

JudyAnn Bigby, MD, Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, was recognized today by Delta Dental of Massachusetts, Lynn Community Health Center and the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers at the Lynn Community Health Center in Massachusetts for her focused efforts on improving access and promoting oral health for the most vulnerable in the Commonwealth. Read more »

Oral Health New Roundup: "People end up dying, and these are the most treatable, preventable diseases in the world"

Here’s a Monday afternoon triple-threat oral health news roundup: Cincinnati, OH NBC affiliate WLWT reported that a 24-year-old single father died two weeks ago as the result of an oral infection because he didn’t have access to health insurance. The prohibitive cost of having his infected wisdom tooth extracted prevented him from getting the care he so desperately needed. According to the article, “the tooth infection spread, causing his brain to swell. He died Tuesday.” The article recalls the case of Deamonte Driver, a 12-year-old Maryland boy who died under similar circumstances in 2007. Read more »

Back To School Checklist: Don't Forget Oral Health

“While cavities are on the decline in the general population, they are a fact of life for increasing numbers of young children, according to the Centers for Disease Control. They affect 10 percent of 2-year-olds and over half of 5-year-olds, causing everything from minor toothaches to missed school days to complications that require major surgery,” a recent article in the Boston Globe reports. Read more »

Advocates Paint the State House RED for Oral Health

Over 50 advocates for oral health came out to the State House to voice their support for restoration of MassHealth adult dental benefits at the Joint Committee on Public Health hearings today. Donning red attire as a sign of support for Restoring Essential Dental, consumer advocates gave moving testimony about the serious consequences untreated oral health disease has had on their lives and the lives of loved ones. Read more »

Let’s make them see R.E.D. on Tuesday!

Restore Essential Dental Benefits for Mass Residents Oral health is full body health. So, why would Massachusetts – the state that pioneered universal healthcare for all residents – slash dental benefits for those that need it most? The answer is easy, budget cuts. Well, that had HCFA seeing RED. We are going to take action and we need your help! Please plan to join HCFA, dental students, patient advocates and those affected by the cuts at the statehouse next Tuesday May 3rd at 10 am to make sure that policy makers Restore Essential Dental Benefits to Massachusetts Residents. To ensure that... Read more »

Cavities Are Catching: MassHealth Adult Dental Cuts Endanger Children

As we leave the winter and flu season behind, we thought we were done worrying about catching an illness from anyone, at least for a few months. However, according to a recent New York Times article, dental cavities can be contagious, with people “catching cavities” from another person all the time. Cavities actually are caused by bacteria on a person’s teeth. The bacteria feed off remaining particles of food. As a by-product, the bacteria produce acid that destroys teeth, resulting in cavities. Simply put, dental decay is a disease. In fact, it is the most common chronic childhood disease... Read more »

HCFA v. Romney: Kid's Dental Case Comes to a Successful End

[Our guest blogger is Clare McGorrian, attorney on the HCFA v. Romney case, who specializes in providing legal services to health care consumers, primarily in health insurance coverage and eligibility disputes.] Eleven years ago Health Law Advocates and Greater Boston Legal Services filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of MassHealth children who could not find a dentist. Last week, the court successfully ended its jurisdiction over the case (see Globe coverage). The suit, Health Care For All v. Romney, followed complaints to Health Care For All’s Help Line and a legislative report... Read more »

Announcing the 2011 Oral Health Community Hero!

Please join us TOMORROW, February 8, 2011, to honor Dr. Ricardo Guevara for his outstanding work in improving the state of oral health in Massachusetts at the 6th Annual Oral Health Heroes Event. Dr. Guevara is the Assistant Director of the dental department at Codman Square Health Center and Director of Dental Programs at the Dorchester High School School-Based Health Center. He has set up a school-based dental program to increase access to dental care among local youth.  Kids can go to the "dentist's office" at school and get care right on campus. This increases the likelihood that the... Read more »


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