Pediatric Dental Benefit May Be Out of Reach for Some Virginia Families
The pediatric dental benefit is one of the ten "essential health benefits" that is required to be a part of the Affordable Care Act's health care exchange. Despite the good intention to expand dental coverage to children, newly released regulations and implementation challenges make accessing the dental benefit confusing and potentially cost-prohibitive.
Of note, caregivers may not be required to purchase pediatric dental coverage because of the way some regulations have been developed. Furthermore, the cost of a stand-alone dental plan will not count toward the amount of financial assistance a family can receive to purchase health insurance. These stand-alone dental plans may have out-of-pocket dental costs as high $700 per child, not including premiums or medical coverage payments.
The Coalition was one of 46 organizations who wrote to U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew in May to encourage the Treasury to allow the cost of stand-alone pediatric dental coverage to be included in the total cost of health insurance coverage when determining how large a family's tax credit will be to purchase coverage in the exchange.
The Coalition supports the pediatric dental benefit as a necessary and worthwhile part of the exchange and will continue to monitor its implementation. If you have questions about the benefit or the Coalition's advocacy initiatives, please contact Sarah Bedard Holland at 804.269.8721 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Medical and Dental Collaboration Leads to Greater Access to Oral Health Services through Collective Impact
The Coalition's medical and dental collaboration initiative aims to integrate oral health into all aspects of healthcare so that more individuals consistently access oral health services.
Many initiative partners are ensuring that the existing and future healthcare workforce is prepared to include oral health as part of a patient's overall health. Of note:
- Edward Via School of Osteopathic Medicine, recognizing a need for their students to understand oral health's critical role in overall health care, has incorporated all eight modules of the Smiles for Life (SFL) oral health curriculum - a comprehensive, nationally-recognized oral health curriculum for clinicians and educators - into their first two years of classes.
- The Virginia Academy of Family Physicians offered the CE course "Managing Oral Health for Patients with Chronic Disease" as a keynote presentation at its annual meeting. Dr. Wanda Gonsalves, an expert presenter in interprofessional oral health, presented to the group earlier this month.
- A group of VCU students, in an effort to ensure they are prepared to practice interprofessionally when they graduate, created the Inter Health Professionals Alliance (IHPA). The IHPA will receive nationwide attention when members attend a national interprofessional oral health symposium next month. A community college in Roanoke is also replicating the IHPA model.
The Coalition is available to facilitate the incorporation of SFL curriculum at your campus, help you line up an oral health speaker for your next meeting/grand rounds, or help to provide technical assistance for new student groups.
As the Coalition gears up for year two of the medical and dental collaboration initiative's implementation phase, check out what our stakeholders have already accomplished in year one and plan to achieve moving forward (click here to view the work plan).
If you have feedback regarding the work plan, please contact Katherine Libby at 804.269.8723 or email@example.com.
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Oral Health and Overall Health
Oral health and overall health are fundamentally intertwined. The following links present current information on how oral health is connected to overall health well-being.
Dental-Related ER Visits on the Rise in the U.S.
Recent ADA research has found that the number of dental ER visits in the U.S. climbed from 1.1 million to 2.1 million over ten-year period. Additionally, the research cited another study that showed over forty percent of dental-related ER visits were due to dental disease. The Coalition is working with Joint Commission to study the economic implications of this issue in Virginia.
Advances in Treating Tooth Decay May Reduce Need for Root Canals
Recent studies in animals have demonstrated that procedures involving stem cells appear to regrow pulp in teeth. The study indicates a possible future using this "regenerative medicine" to replace dead tissue in teeth, reducing the need for root canals.
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Please visit our website for more oral health information