Huntington Herald-Dispatch: State Makes Strides to Improve Kids' Oral Health
West Virginians rightly bristle at the various stereotypes thrown their way, as they should.
The images that too often are brought up in the late-night talk shows are not indicative of a vast majority of the state's people. But in some cases, there is a kernel of truth that led to the stereotype in the first place.
One that comes to mind is the dental health of the state's residents.
The introduction of the oral health program in the schools follows other steps in recent years. First, was coming up with an oral health plan for the state and beginning to implement strategies. For example, between 2010 and 2011, West Virginia went from having no reported sealant programs in high-risk schools to having somewhere between 25 and 49 percent, according to the 2011 Pew Report Card on states' dental health. According to the Marshall University School-Community Partnership Program report, in the school year 2010, 30 percent of the state's high-risk schools had a sealant program. Another factor was improvements in Medicaid payment rates to dentists.
Just some of those initial, important steps improved the state's Pew Report Card grade from "F" to a "C" in the 2011 assessment. Since that time, more progress has been made, according to the West Virginia Kids Count organization. In early 2012, West Virginia Medicaid joined the State's Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in reimbursing primary care physicians for applying fluoride varnish and referring children to a dental home. And in the 2012 legislative session, legislation was passed allowing hygienists to place sealants without a prior dentist's exam.
Read the full article at herald-dispatch.com.
- Children's Dental Policy