Monthly Archives: February 2014

Oral health fun at Children’s Dental Health Day at South Hill Mall

What do Chompy the Carrot, the Tooth Fairy, toothbrushes, sugar displays, and people in lab coats have in common? Children’s Dental Health Day in Puyallup!

For the 23rd year and in celebration of February as Children’s Dental Health month, the Pierce County Dental Society (PCDS) sponsored an array of free oral health services, resources, and information for children and their families.

Pierce County Dental Society dentists volunteered, along with other volunteer dentists, dental assistants, and dental hygienists, including those from Community Health Care, Bates and Clover Park  Dental Assisting Schools to provide free oral screenings, fluoride varnish applications, and family oral health instructions. Children needing additional care were seen on the nearby Medical Teams International mobile dental van staffed by volunteer Pierce County dentists.

Families also received valuable oral and other health-related information, instructions on how to sign up for the Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD) program, and obtained referrals to affordable dental resources within Pierce County.  Participating Pierce County Oral Health Coalition partners and other community resources included:

  • Bates Dental Assisting School
  • Clover Park Dental Assisting School
  • Community Health Care
  • Good Samaritan Bicycle Program
  • Lindquist Dental Clinic for Children
  • Medical Teams International
  • Pierce County Dentists Care
  • Pierce County Dental Foundation
  • Puyallup Tribal Health Authority
  • SeaMar Community Health
  • Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s ABCD Program

Chompy the Carrot entertained the crowd while conveying the vital message that nutrition matters when it comes to maintaining healthy teeth. For more information on how to keep your child’s teeth healthy,  go here.

Oral health benefits under health care reform

Pierce County community and oral health coalition members, representing 28 agencies and provider offices, gathered at PCOHC’s Feb. 12 meeting to learn more about health care reform’s impact on oral health benefits. (Two CE credits were offered.)

Dianne Baum of the Washington Health Care Authority highlights adult dental Medicaid benefits during her presentation to the PCOHC.

Dianne Baum of the Washington State Health Care Authority highlights adult dental Medicaid benefits during her presentation to the Pierce County Oral Health Coalition (PCOHC). More than 40 attendees, representing more than two dozen organizations, attended the PCOHC-organized event.

Presentations were made by representatives from the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) and the state’s insurance marketplace known as the Washington Health Benefit Exchange (HBE).

Adult Dental Benefits (Medicaid)

Dianne Baum, dental program manager at the HCA, provided a comprehensive summary of the Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) Adult Dental benefits that the state legislature restored, and in some cases enhanced, effective Jan. 1, 2014.

Baum’s presentation addressed the following topics:

  • Eligibility parameters
  • Covered dental services, limitations and exclusions
  • Answers to commonly asked questions and resources for additional Medicaid dental information
  • Current and prospective Medicaid provider support: Baum emphasized the availability of the HCA’s Medicaid dental experts to provide one-on-one assistance to prospective providers as well as support those providers who currently serve Medicaid-covered patients.
  • Claim Review and Pre-authorization: HCA’s dental staff consists of professional, licensed dental practitioners and benefit professionals who assist with and oversee Medicaid claim documentation, review and authorization of dental treatment plans.

The Washington State HCA Medicaid Provider Guide for Dental-Related Services effective January 1, 2014, may be found here.

Pediatric Dental Benefits

Christine Gibert, senior policy analyst for Washington’s insurance marketplace, the HBE, outlined the history and current status of the new pediatric dental benefit offered through the HBE.

Gibert’s presentation touched on the following topics:

  • The mandatory purchase of pediatric dental benefits for any eligible child for whom a medical plan is purchased on the HBE,
  • Dental plan premiums, and
  • Coverage limits and deductibles that remain separate and distinct from medical plans.

Gibert said the HBE Board recognized the current dental-purchasing experience remained challenging for HBE consumers and providers alike.

While Washington’s lawmakers were currently considering legislation to allow embedding  pediatric dental benefits into medical plans, she said that 2016 was realistically the earliest implementation date for other changes to the HBE’s pediatric dental benefit.

Gibert said the HBE’s Dental Technical Advisory Committee (DTAC) provided an avenue for community input and information.

Ed. Note: The PCOHC thanks Baum and Gibert for their presentations, as well as Evergreen State College-Tacoma Campus for the use of its facility.