Ohio Dental Association Hopes to Bring Brighter Smiles to More Children's Faces

April 29, 2002
Joint proposal with Delta Dental aims to improve access for Medicaid-eligible children.

The Ohio Dental Association (ODA) is pleased to announce the submission of a joint proposal with Delta Dental Plan of Ohio (DDPO) to improve access to dental care for Medicaid-eligible children in Ohio. The proposal was submitted to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) for consideration as this department develops its
budget for state fiscal year 2004-2005. Currently, ODJFS is in the process of scheduling a time to hear a formal presentation on the proposal.

Patterned after a successful program currently implemented in the state of Michigan, this pilot program would be a strong solution to the number one unmet health care need in the state: oral health care. The ODA has actively worked towards finding a solution to this problem for the past several years.

Access to oral health care is not a regional issue, however -- it was
identified a number of years ago by the U.S. Surgeon General as a national problem. "We are very pleased to be partnering with Delta Dental of Ohio on a proposed solution to solve a very complicated problem," said Dr. Jeanne Nicolette of Westerville, president of the ODA. "We are especially gratified to be a part of these efforts to help bring dental care to more children in Ohio. If adopted, this program will be a major step in the right direction."

The issue of access to oral health care in Ohio is not the problem of just one entity, and countless individuals and groups have worked hard to find a solution. The ODA is pleased to be a part of a collaborative effort that includes Delta Dental Plan of Ohio, the Ohio Dept. of Health and other state agencies, ODA members, and various task forces who are addressing this issue.
"Good oral health is an important part of overall health," said Nancy E.
Hostetler, vice president of Corporate and Public Affairs at Delta Dental Plan of Ohio. "We at Delta Dental are very pleased to partner with the Ohio Dental Association in submitting this proposal to make needed dental care available to more young children."

There are several expected positive outcomes from the proposed ODA/DDP program:
* Improved access to dental care
* Increased numbers of children enrolled in Medicaid who receive dental
* Higher numbers of dentists available to treat Medicaid children
* Reduction in the number of children on current waiting lists in need of
dental care
* Long-term cost savings; e.g., providing preventive care now as opposed
to restorative later

The Michigan program, Healthy Kids Dental (HKD), provides oral health care to eligible children under the age of 21, and serves an estimated 113,000 children in 37 primarily rural counties. HKD provides basic dental services such as x-rays, cleanings, filling cavities, root canals, extractions and dentures. The Michigan program reports success from the program in terms of patient (parent or caregiver) and dentist satisfaction, and has dramatically increased the number of children utilizing dental services.

The Ohio Dental Association is a 5,400 member professional association working to improve oral health and strengthen the profession of dentistry in Ohio.