Oral Health Kansas Advocacy • Public Awareness Education

Mouth Matters

OHK and the Bureau of Oral Health developed the State Oral Health Plan which debuted November 7, 2014.

State Oral Health Plan

Public Policy Priorities

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.

2018 Oral Health Kansas Public Policy Priorities

  • Increase Access
  • Increase Financial Capacity
  • Improve Oral Health

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 increased reimbursement rates for KanCare 2.0 dental providers.
Support recruitment and retention efforts to increase dental providers and their compensation.
Advocate for policies to grow the reach of Extended Care Permit hygienists into additional underserved communities, including teledental services.
Support initiatives to increase access to oral healthcare providers, such as dental therapists.

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.
Promote consumer awareness of the pediatric dental policies available on insureks.org and advocate for affordable implementation of this coverage.

Advocate for an increase in tobacco tax in order to preserve and increase funding for health and oral administrative barriers Advocate for expansion of KanCare.
Encourage elimination of administrative barriers Advocate for expansion of KanCare.
Advocate for expansion of KanCare.

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 to utilize Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding for oral health items, such as toothbrushes and toothpaste.

Encourage expansion of oral health data collection and reporting under KanCare.
Explore legislation to modify the “Other Tobacco Products” tax definition.
Support efforts to reduce use of tobacco products, including restricting access to tobacco among minors.
Advocate that plans of care account for oral health by including related questions on eligibility determination tools in the aging, disabilities, and early childhood service systems.
Encourage all early childhood organizations and agencies to align their policies by adopting the completion of a first dental visit by age one.

2018 Oral Health Kansas Public Policy Priorities (printable PDF)

Most Americans struggle with high costs of health care, limited access and a lack of information. These challenges are critically acute for the poor, and often become drivers of poverty and financial instability. In addition, health is heavily influenced by one’s life circumstances, such as where they live, learn, work and play—these conditions are rarely factored in by traditional medical treatment despite the fact they can directly impact health outcomes and costs. Kansas Oral Health Connections has a shared vision of Oral Health for All, and six shared goals: Eradicating dental disease in children; incorporating oral health into primary care; mandatory inclusion of an adult benefit in publicly funded health insurance; incorporate oral health into the primary education system, a comprehensive oral health measurement system and improve the public perception of the value of oral health to overall health. We realize that poverty, and the conditions of poverty, are some of the primary barriers to improved oral health and well being. To that end, we as a network, are united in our vision of reaching a more equitable landscape for all Kansans by 2020.

Oral Health Kansas Theory of Change

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