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.

2024 Oral Health Kansas Public Policy Priorities

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 an appropriation to add dental examinations and cleanings to KanCare dental benefits for all adult beneficiaries,
  • Advocate for KanCare to take a preventive whole person approach to dental care.
  • Advocate with Congressional delegation for a comprehensive Medicare dental benefit, Medicaid adult dental benefits, and dental benefits for veterans.
  • Encourage elimination of administrative barriers for dental providers participating in KanCare.
  • Advocate for KanCare expansion.
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 residents to access oral health care.
Level of Support:
Support and advocate. Take the lead when appropriate.

  • Support recruitment and retention efforts to increase KanCare dental providers and their compensation.
  • Support initiatives to increase access to oral healthcare providers, including through the KanCare re-procurement process.
    • Target populations include children, people with disabilities, and elderly adults
    • Encourage expansion of oral health data collection and reporting under KanCare
    • Actively engage Managed Care Organizations in increasing their dental provider network
    • Improve access to sedation dental care for people with disabilities
  • Deploy an impact campaign to reduce oral health disparities by encouraging dental offices to treat children and adults with disabilities.
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.
  • Ensure Kansas kids have access to clean, safe drinking water.
  • Direct Kansas Department of Children and Families to submit a waiver to utilize SNAP funding for oral health items, such as toothbrushes and toothpaste.
  • Support policies to reduce harm from cigarettes, tobacco products and electronic cigarettes.
  • Encourage all early childhood organizations and agencies to align their policies by requiring dental visits by age one.

Note: All bolded initiatives are those on which Oral Health Kansas plans to lead advocacy efforts.
2024 Oral Health Kansas Public Policy Priorities (printable PDF)


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