KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

States Consider Dental Care Access Issues

Bettering the health of America's poorest through greater access to dental care is on the minds of state lawmakers and dental care advocates in Kansas and Massachusetts as they consider legislation to expand who can practice basic dentistry.

Kansas Health Institute News: Committee Considers Bill To Increase Dental Access
One of the provisions of House Bill 2631 would require the Kansas Board of Regents to seek additional openings for Kansas students at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry. ... Other provisions of the bill, which passed the House last month by wide margin, are: ... Expand the locations where charitable dental services could be performed while providing dentists with exemptions from liability. ... Create a new permit level for dental hygienists to allow them to provide more types of care to underserved patients (Cauthon, 3/7).  

Kaiser Health News: Coming Soon To Massachusetts' Dental Offices – Maybe
WBUR's Martha Bebinger, working as part of a partnership with Kaiser Health News and NPR, reports: "In Massachusetts, one in six residents lives in an area with a shortage of dental care, including parts of central and western Massachusetts, Cape Cod and many low-income urban communities. In addition, almost 750,000 low-income residents on Medicaid have coverage to get their teeth cleaned or pulled, but nothing more. Health care advocates are pressing the legislature to restore full dental benefits" (Bebinger, 3/7).

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