Pew Children’s Dental Campaign released a report card on dental policies in each of the 50 states on February 23rd, 2010. Pew rated the states on eight topics, including water fluoridation, Medicaid coverage of and payment for dental services, and school dental sealant programs. Kansas received a grade of C, primarily based on too few school sealant programs, inadequate water fluoridation and low Medicaid rates for dental services.
Oral Health Kansas sees this report card as an opportunity to shine light on some of the issues we have been fighting for during the past few years. In particular, more effort needs to be placed on ensuring people who are on Medicaid receive access to dental services. After several years of advocacy from Oral Health Kansas and others, three years ago the state Legislature provided funding for dental services for Kansas seniors and people with disabilities who are on the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services waivers. In January of this year, those services were eliminated as part of the state’s budget cutting efforts. Additionally all Medicaid rates were cut by ten percent. The Pew report accurately points out the already low Medicaid dental services rates in Kansas. This further erosion of rates will limit access severely to the few people who still have some access to Medicaid dental services.
“Pew’s emphasis on Medicaid dental services mirrors our own priorities,” said Tanya Dorf Brunner, Oral Health Kansas Executive Director. “We are dedicated to ensuring all Kansans, including people who are on Medicaid, have access to basic preventive dental services. The loss of the services on the waivers is a huge blow, and we believe Pew’s report will help make this point in the hearts and minds of Kansans everywhere.”
To view the report click here.