Virginia Oral Health Coalition

Excellent Oral Health for ALL Virginians

In This Issue
Save the Date: 2013 Oral Health Summit
US National Oral Health Colloquium
UPDATE: State-Supported Dental Clinics
PEW Report
Of Interest
Save the Date
Friday, Nov. 8
2013 Oral Health Summit
The 2013 Virginia Oral Health Summit is scheduled for Friday, November 8 at the Westin Hotel in Richmond.
Dr.  Marcia Brand
The Summit will focus on the future of oral health care delivery and will feature a keynote presentation from Dr. Marcia Brand, Deputy Administrator for HRSA at the US Dept. of Health and Human Services. Registration will open later this summer.
Sponsorship and exhibit opportunities are still available. If you're interested in sponsoring the Summit, please contact Esther Wong Hershman.
US National Oral Health Alliance
Leadership Colloquium
On June 17-18, Coalition staff and board members participated in the US National Oral Health Alliance's sixth annual Leadership Colloquium in Washington, DC on strengthening the dental care delivery system.



Read about the Coalition's accomplishments


Please check with your HR department to find out if your gift can be matched. 



June 2013 Bulletin

UPDATE: State-Supported Dental Clinics 


The Virginia Oral Health Coalition is charged with ensuring that all Virginians have access to optimal oral health care. When funding was eliminated in late 2011 for state-supported Virginia Department of Health (VDH) dental clinics, which treat nearly 20,000 Virginians, the Coalition advocated to restore clinic funding and for the VDH to convene a group of stakeholders to make recommendations to the General Assembly about the long-term operations of the dental clinics. During the 2012 legislative session, members of both the House and Senate agreed with the position of the Coalition and our partners and voted to restore funding to the dental clinics; the legislators' budget language also directed the Commissioner of Health to convene the stakeholder group.


Dental InstrumentThe stakeholder group considered many options to ensure the dental clinic patients continue to receive continuous and accessible care. The group was mindful of the capacity of existing dental safety net clinics and balanced this with the needs of the underserved and current budgetary realities.


In October 2012, the stakeholder group released a report to the General Assembly, which recommends that the clinics be transitioned to a prevention-based care model while clinics operating in areas without enough capacity to absorb the clinic patients remain open and continue to provide comprehensive care. Other localities would replicate a preventive model that has been successful in Cumberland Plateau, Southside and Lenowisco health districts. In this model, dental hygienists work primarily in school-based settings under remote supervision to provide preventive services, such as fluoride varnish and sealants, and to refer children in need of further care to local dentists. A referral relationship is to be in place with an area dentist before the program begins.


Where Are We Now?


The General Assembly responded favorably to the report's recommendations and both House and Senate members voted again in 2013 to restore funding to the dental clinics so the stakeholder group would have additional time to expand upon the current recommendations and develop a complete plan, due to the General Assembly in October 2013, that will recommend how care should be delivered in each locality. As outlined in the original report, the VDH will maintain several dental clinics to provide comprehensive care, while transitioning most localities to a prevention only model. The majority of localities that face a clinic closure have safety net capacity to absorb VDH patients.  If clinics in areas without the capacity to care for the VDH patients are slated for closure, members of the stakeholder group have pledged to identify solutions, either through public-private partnerships, care innovations or legislation to ensure access is not lost.


All of the members of the stakeholder group have taken the charge of the General Assembly very seriously and remain focused on the health and well-being of existing dental clinic patients and the needs of affected localities and dental clinic employeesThe Coalition agrees that the stakeholder group's recommendations can support the long-term needs of the dental clinic patients while implementing a fiscally sustainable model of care, based on evidence and best practices. Final decisions are still in development. The Coalition will continue to work closely with the stakeholder group, the members of the General Assembly and the Administration to ensure Virginians maintain access to oral health services. The group will issue a final report in October 2013.


If you have any questions about the Coalition's role within the stakeholder group, please contact Sarah Bedard Holland.


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PEW Report: In Search of Dental Care


A recent PEW report entitled "In Search of Dental Care" reinforces the knowledge that a disproportionate number of low-income children go without seeing a dentist, highlighting two types of dental provider shortages as probable cause.  While Virginia does not rank among the worst states in terms of provider shortage, the Commonwealth's Medicaid utilization rate among enrolled children still hovers around 50 percent. 


The Coalition is working with Virginia's Medicaid program provider to increase utilization among children ages 0-3 through its medical and dental collaboration initiative.


Read more about the Coalition's efforts in our May 2013 newsletter


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Of Interest


Oral Health and Overall Health


Smile CircleOral health and overall health are fundamentally intertwined. The following links present current information on how oral health is connected to overall health well-being.   




Medical Society of Virginia Foundation's Salute to Service Award


Do you wish to honor an outstanding physician? The Medical Society of Virginia Foundation is seeking nominations for its 10th Annual Salute to Service Awards. The awards recognize outstanding efforts by a physician, medical student or resident that have substantially improved patient care, both in Virginia and abroad.


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