Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

New Report Reveals Dental Insurance Dropouts

New monthly data from the American Dental Association (ADA) Health Policy Institute (HPI) reveal new insights into the status of practice participation in dental insurance networks. The data show that about 1 in 6 dental practices have dropped out of some insurance networks since January 2023. The February 2023 poll also revealed that one-third of dentists continue to report they are actively recruiting dental hygienists and dental assistants.

Click here to view the full results.

Just Launched: An Introduction to Value-Based Care in Oral Health

The CareQuest Institute for Oral Health is offering a new self-paced online course, “An Introduction to Value-Based Care in Oral Health: Moving from Volume to Value.” The one-hour course identifies how value-based care in oral health can improve patients’ health outcomes while benefiting providers and payors. It offers 1 CE credit and includes a collection of resources and references to learn more about the topic.

Click here for more information.

New Study Released: Silver Diamine Fluoride Effectiveness

A study of almost 3,000 children found silver diamine fluoride may be as effective as dental sealants for caries prevention. The study was reported in JAMA Network Open. The objective was to determine the noninferiority of silver diamine fluoride with fluoride varnish versus traditional glass ionomer sealants with fluoride varnish after two years when provided to children via a school-based health care program.

Click here to learn more.

Pennsylvania Dentists Discuss Oral Health During Children’s Dental Health Month

From WITF, On the Spark

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 1 in 5 children between the ages of 5 and 11 have at least one untreated decaying tooth and children between the ages of 5 and 19 are twice as likely to have cavities if they come from low-income households.

According to the University of Illinois College of Dentistry, there is a connection between oral health and a person’s overall health and well-being.

February is Children’s Dental Health Month and Dr. LaJuan Mountain, vice president of dental services at Family First Health, and Dr. Sam Mansour, Pennsylvania Dental Association’s statewide national children’s dental health month chair, joined us on The Spark Thursday to discuss the importance of children’s dental health, the barriers to receiving dental care and ways to overcome them.

Dr. Mountain said, a healthy mouth consists of firm and pink gums and no disruptions or discoloration in the enamel. She also said, oral health is not the general consensus that she is seeing in our communities because of a lack of accessibility, high costs, insurance challenges, dentist office schedules, a lack of oral health literacy and more.

On The Spark we also discussed the Family First Health’s Mobile School Dentist program that provides in-school dental care for all ages and grade levels in York, Adams and Lancaster County.

“It’s having a tremendous impact. I’ve been doing this program for almost a decade and I’m actually seeing kids that I first started to treat in Head Start, and they’re now in junior high. So that means we’ve actually followed kids throughout their entire academic life thus far, and we’re seeing improvement,” Dr. Mountain said. “…We’re exposing them to the importance of their oral health, but also opportunities in health care, especially because the individuals we’re interacting with are often in that low socioeconomic environment.”

Celebrate National Children’s Dental Health this February

  To bring awareness, the Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign is reminding families that dental services are covered for children and teens who are eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  Enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP is open year-round; however, coverage must be renewed annually. Parents and caregivers should enroll their child today, or if already covered, call their healthcare provider to schedule an appointment. Visit the “Find Coverage for Your Family” map on to access information by state or call 1-877-KIDS-NOW (1-877-543-7669).  It’s also a critical time to remind families enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP to update their contact information with their state Medicaid office so they can receive information about Medicaid Unwinding – an end to expanded public health insurance coverage that was allowed during the pandemic.

New USPHS Chief Dental Officer Named

The United States Public Health Service has named Rear Admiral Michael Johnson as the 21st Chief Dental Officer. Rear Admiral Johnson concurrently serves as the Chief Dental Officer of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. We look forward to how he can further elevate oral health in his new position.

Volunteer Opportunity for Dental Professionals in Pennsylvania

The Remote Area Medical (RAM) Volunteer Corps is hosting a clinic on March 25th and 26th at Penns Valley Elementary Intermediate School in Spring Mills, PA. Free dental, vision, and medical services will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis. RAM is seeking volunteers to work the event. They offer first-come, first-serve free lodging for out-of-town providers, and meals are provided to volunteers during the clinic day.

Click here to view the event flyer.
Click here for more volunteer information.

Celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month! This month-long national health observance brings together thousands of dedicated professionals, healthcare providers, and educators to promote the benefits of good oral health to children, their caregivers, teachers and many others. Check out the American Dental Association website for posters, postcards, flyers, and activity sheets.

Click here for resources and to learn more.

Pennsylvania Report Addresses Rural Oral Health Access Issues

The Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) released a report that analyzed the state of dentistry in rural Pennsylvania and found that the state has a growing problem with access to dental care. To combat those trends and problems, the report suggests some financial changes, as well as expanding technological use.

PCOH was excited to assist the LBFC on this report as the lead stakeholder.

Click here to download the report.