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:

Senate Bill 579:  This states, “Reimbursement for… dental services which require a diagnosis…”
House Bill No. 1717: … “640.136.  1.  Any public water system, as defined in section 640.102, or public water supply district, as defined in chapter  247, which intends to make modifications to fluoridation of its water supply shall notify the department of natural resources, the department of health and senior services, and its customers of its intentions at least ninety days prior to any vote on the matter. The public water system or public water supply district shall notify its customers via radio, television, newspaper, regular mail, electronic means, or any combination of notification methods to most effectively notify customers at least ninety days prior to any meeting at which the vote will occur. Any public water system or public water supply district that violates the notification requirements of this section  shall return the  fluoridation of its water supply to its previous level until proper notification is provided under the provisions of this section.”
House Bill No. 1717 is very similar to what was passed in New York. See the new Fluoridation Law approved in NY in 2015.