Alrie McNiff Daniels
María R. González Albuixech
Director of Strategy and Communications
Health Care For All
Health Care For All Receives $120,000 Grant from Tufts Health Plan Foundation
BOSTON– December 21, 2018 – Health Care For All was awarded a three-year grant for $120,000 from Tufts Health Plan Foundation to engage older adults in mobilizing and advocating for expanded access to oral health care. This is one of 11 new community investments totaling more than $1.2 million that reflect the Foundation’s commitment to advancing policies and practices that support healthy aging, including addressing gaps in oral health, nutrition, housing, transportation and community safety.
“We are investing in initiatives that promote coalitions and bring together government, nonprofit organizations, and older people to create communities that are great places to grow up and grow old,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president for corporate citizenship at Tufts Health Plan. “Critical to any success is supporting older people as they lead and make their voices heard.”
Through this grant, Health Care For All will engage and prioritize diverse older people with low incomes, through collaboration with the Massachusetts Senior Action Coalition. Advocacy goals include adding to MassHealth oral health benefits, licensure of dental therapists, and other policy or system changes that will likely assure better oral health for older people.
In Massachusetts, almost 30% of residents age 65 or older have not visited a dentist in the past year and 36% suffer from severe tooth loss. Older adults are much more likely to experience age-related chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, conditions which are correlated with poor oral health and a decreased quality of life. This is compounded by the lack of oral health coverage by Medicare and limited MassHealth adult dental benefits.
“These factors significantly limit older adults’ ability to access and pay for dental services, in addition to driving up medical spending due to costly emergency department usage. The state does not have an Oral Health Plan, nor has it conducted a Basic Screening Survey for older adults since 2012” said Amy Rosenthal, Executive Director of Health Care For All. “This grant will allow us to work closely with partners on the ground to address these issues. We will lead public education and mobilization efforts within affected communities and explore policy and regulatory options to improve access and coverage of dental services for older adults.”
About the Tufts Health Plan Foundation
Established in 2008, Tufts Health Plan Foundation supports the health and wellness of the diverse communities we serve. The Foundation has given more than $32 million to Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island nonprofits that promote healthy living with an emphasis on older adults. The Foundation began funding in New Hampshire in 2016. The Tufts Health Plan Foundation funds programs that move communities toward achieving age-friendly policies and practices that are relevant, focus on older adults and include them in community solutions. Visit www.tuftshealthplanfoundation.org or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
About Health Care For All
Health Care For All (HCFA) is a nonprofit organization that advocates for health justice in Massachusetts by working to promote health equity and ensure coverage and access for all. We achieve this as leaders in public policy, advocacy, education and service to consumers in Massachusetts. For more information about HCFA, visit our website at www.hcfama.org. You can also call our free HelpLine (800) 272-4232 if you need help applying for health insurance.