Oral Health Kansas’ Advocacy Committee develops the organization’s Public Policy Priorities annually. The Advocacy Committee is made up of Board and non-Board members. The Advocacy Committee meets weekly during the legislative session and assists staff in forming advocacy strategies. Once identified, the Board of Directors ratifies the Public Policy Priorities, usually in December each year, in advance of the legislative session’s opening in January. This document guides OHK’s lobbying efforts and assists the organization in setting staffing priorities during the busy legislative session.

The priorities reflect the fact that Oral Health Kansas is the statewide advocacy organization dedicated to promoting the importance of lifelong dental health by shaping policy and educating the public so Kansans know that all mouths matter. The priority areas are intentionally broad and far-reaching, and are intended to allow staff and Advocacy Committee members to work on a variety of topics within the broad goals, depending on what the legislative session holds. The priorities are also written to be as inclusive of our valued partners as possible. For some priorities, it is appropriate for Oral Health Kansas to lead the lobbying effort. On others, OHK takes a partnership position and works closely with another lead organization.

2021 Oral Health Kansas Public Policy Priorities

Increase access to providers

Specific Initiative or Legislation:
Ensure that all Kansans have access to comprehensive oral health care. Address policies and practices that would restrict or impact the ability of citizens to access oral health care.
Level of Support:
Support and advocate. Take the lead when appropriate.

  • Support recruitment and retention efforts to increase dental providers and their compensation.
  • Support initiatives to increase access to oral healthcare providers.
  • Ensure access to dental services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Increase financial capacity to pay for dental services

Specific Initiative or Legislation:
Reduce financial barriers associated with professional dental care. Full dental benefits for all Medicaid enrollees are a priority.
Level of Support:
Partner and take the lead.

  • Advocate for a comprehensive dental benefit for all KanCare beneficiaries.
  • Advocate for an increase in tobacco tax in order to preserve and increase funding for health and oral health.
  • Encourage elimination of administrative barriers for dental providers participating in KanCare.
  • Advocate for expansion of KanCare.
Improve public oral health

Specific Initiative or Legislation:
Engage in activities to increase the oral health of all Kansans using evidence-based public health strategies.
Level of Support:
Support and advocate. Take the lead when appropriate.

  • Preserve existing community water fluoridation in Kansas.
  • Explore legislation or policy change to utilize funding for oral health items, such as toothbrushes and toothpaste.
  • Encourage expansion of oral health data collection and reporting under KanCare.
  • Support policies to reduce harm from cigarettes, tobacco products and electronic cigarettes.
  • Encourage all early childhood organizations and agencies to align their policies by adopting the completion of a first dental visit by age one.

2021 Oral Health Kansas Public Policy Priorities (printable PDF)


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