The state legislature has missed an opportunity to get more kids and families the preventive oral health care they need.
The dental access legislation, House Bill 1516 and Senate Bill 5433 did not move forward out of their policy committees, despite a large and diverse statewide coalition of health care advocates and the leadership of Rep. Eileen Cody (D-34th) and Sen. David Frockt (D-46th). The Washington State Dental Association is ignoring the input of its own member dentists and is blocking an innovative and evidence-based solution to our state’s dental access crisis.
A licensed dental practitioner remains a viable part of the solution – for the oral health of Washington’s underserved communities and as a workforce opportunity for dedicated dental professionals.
Dental practitioners are already serving tens of thousands of patients in other states. Watch this short video to learn more:
In the course of convening the Washington Dental Access Campaign, we
have discovered the powerful momentum behind this evidence-based
solution in our state. Accredited institutions stand ready to train
dental practitioners. Local dentists who care for our communities want
them on the job. Parents and seniors say they need them.
Because kids are more likely to stay healthy when their parents have health
coverage, the Children’s Alliance is part of the campaign to restore
adult dental benefits to Medicaid recipients. Yet as this report by the
Bellingham Herald suggests, dental benefits are only one piece of the
oral health access puzzle.
To maximize our investment in health coverage, Washington needs to innovate: to bring a community minded, evidence-based dental practitioner that frees up dentists to serve our communities.