Our heartfelt thanks to the Missouri legislature for taking steps this session to improve state oral health and support the ability of adults to work, children to attend school and communities to be healthy. We especially thank Senators Romine, Schaaf, Schaefer and Wallingford and Representatives Allen, Barnes, Flanigan, Haefner and Lichtenegger and Gov. Nixon.
Medicaid-eligible adults have dental care coverage for the first time since 2004. Adult dental coverage saves the state money as emergency room usage for untreated dental conditions decreases. ERs provide antibiotics for infection and medication for pain, but not dental care. Sometimes people with untreated dental conditions require hospitalization, far exceeding costs of dental care.
Telehealth legislation paving the way for sensible use of new technologies will increase access to dental care in many underserved areas. SB 579 [see below] awaits Gov. Nixon’s signature. HB 1717 [see below], also awaiting Gov. Nixon’s signature, is a simple notification bill supporting local involvement in decisions.
Discontinuing fluoridation with no community input is a trend, costing people in increased cavities. Fluoridation — one of our greatest health tools — safely reduces cavities for everyone. While Missouri faces many oral health challenges, we look forward to seeing the positive impact of these important policy decisions.
Notes from FAN: