mdac hdr 2

June, 2011
In This Issue: PEW Report Card, Fund for a Healthy Maine, Dental Camp and more
Maine Gets an A
The Fund for a Healthy Maine Good News
Other Oral Health Legislation
UNE Dental Careers Exploration Camp
Children's Health Home
MDAC Quarterly Meeting
Kids Oral Health Partnership
Quick Links  
Word of Mouth
Dear Sarah,

Word of Mouth is the newsletter of the Maine Dental Access Coalition. We welcome your comments and invite your ideas for content.
Maine Gets an A from PEW

Maine receives an A grade in a new 50-state report on children's dental health, up from a B in a similar report released in February 2010 last year, but data in the new report by the Pew Children's Dental Campaign reveals there is ample work to do to ensure that residents get the dental care they need.


The report, The State of Children's Dental Health: Making Coverage Matter, reveals that Maine met or exceeded six of the eight benchmarks for policies to strengthen oral health. Its a good news bad news report. On the one hand,Maine has policies in place that are leading to better oral health in children.  On the other hand, nearly six out of 10 low-income children in Maine went an entire year without even basic dental care-not even an exam. The one page Maine report card is here.


Shelly Gehshan, director of the Pew Children's Dental Campaign, pointed to the fact that no state met all eight benchmarks as a sign that even the A states can do better.  ";An A does not stand for 'all done,'"; she said.  ";It means a state has the right framework in place, but needs to build on that and ensure that children are getting access to dental care.";


But proposed cuts in funding in the current State budget would almost certainly erode the framework Maine now has. The A  grade could easily slip to a C with elimination of funding that now comes from the  Fund for a Healthy Maine. School-based oral health programs that focus on low-income children and offer dental sealants and fluoride at school would be cut, affecting 30,000 school children. Cuts would also limit an educational loan program at the Finance Authority of Maine that encourages dental students and newly licensed Maine dentists to work in underserved parts of the state.  These dentists provide services to many MaineCare children. 


The two benchmarks not met include failing to pay dentists adequately for services to MaineCare members and not having established a new primary care dental provider.  The State made an important investment in dental health in approving a $5 million dental care bond which will fund a new dental school and expand dental clinics around the state.


The Bangor Daily News carried an article on the report, here, and there were interviews on MPBN and the Bangor Cumulus stations.  
The Fund for a Healthy Maine: Good News

For oral health, $600,000 (out of  $878,652) has been restored to sealant programs and dental subsidies by the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. These are far less drastic cuts than the elimination proposed in the Governor's proposal. The Committee fully restored Tobacco Prevention and Control program and the Community and School Grants, and partially  restored many of the other programs  including Substance Abuse, Family Planning, Home Visitation, Oral Health, Drugs for the Elderly and Dirigo.


This proves that calls, conversations, and strong, accessible data do make a difference when it comes to effective policy change.


Thanks to all of you who took the time to contact and educate their legislators. Special thanks to those who showed up in person to  provide testimony on behalf of the oral health programs in the Fund: Wendy Alpaugh, Barbara Covey, Pat Jones all gave testimony, and especially MDAC Policy Workgroup Chair, Lisa Kavanaugh who was a frequent visitor to the State house during this time.


HOWEVER-its not over until the full legislature votes, and the Governor signs, which will be soon, stay tuned.

Other Oral Health Legislation The Coalition's bill, LD 1114 ";An Act To Improve Preventive Dental Health Care and Reduce Future Avoidable Costs"; , has been engrossed by both House and Senate, which is the last step before enactment. This means that DHHS, with help from the MaineCare Dental Advisory Committee, will be able to provide services to some MaineCare eligible adults when costs will be lower and quality better if MaineCare provides restorative or preventative services. 


LD 390 Resolve, ";To Implement Certain Recommendations of the Governor's Task Force on Expanding Access to Oral Health Care for Maine People"; originally proposed to raise dental  reimbursement rate to the 75th percentile of other New England States. It came out of the HHS committee with a unanimous ";Ought to Pass";... at the 10th percentile and is now placed on the Special Approriations Table pending enactment.


LD 1105 Resolve, ";To Study Oral Health Care in Maine and Make Recommendations Regarding How To Address Maine's Oral Health Care Needs";  has passed. it requires the Executive Director of the Legislative Council to request Medical Care Development, Inc. to perform a study of oral health care needs in the State using privately raised funds.


LD 1290 Resolve, To Promote Prevention Practices in Oral Health Care 

This resolve requires the Department of Health and Human Services to develop and maintain a program to promote oral health and dental disease prevention activities and to gather and aggregate data regarding oral health programs in this State, within exisiting resources. 


LD 70, An Act To Include Independent Practice Dental Hygienists in MaineCare 

This has come out of committee ";Ought to Pass";, with a fiscal note. 
UNE Dental Careers Exploration Camp 

June 26 - 28, 2011 (Brochure here)


15-20 high school students are invited for a free, hands-on dental immersion experience at the UNE campus in Portland.


Students from rural and under-served areas are especially encouraged to apply.  UNE has dedicated slots at this summer camp for students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds but who show academic promise and an interest in exploring health professions. Stipends are available to support students and parent chaperones for travel to the program


Contact David Burtt(, 207-865-1627) no later than June 15th to enroll. 


Children's Oral Health in the Health Home
This is the latest Trend Notes from the National  Maternal and Child Oral Health Policy Center discussing policy solution for integating  oral health into health homes through co-location, shared financing, virtual linkages and facilitaited referral and follow-up. The full article is here.


Quarterly Meeting: September 30,2011

The next quarterly meeting will be held at MCD, 11 Parkwood Drive in Augusta, at 9:45 -2:30 PM. Lunch is included and committees, which are open to everyone, meet after lunch. 


To register contact Dot Seigars at or 622-7566 x 232 


Kids Oral Health Partnership 
kohp logo plain If you are a medical provider, or a childcare/family services provider, and would like free training on oral health assessment, parental guidance and disease prevention, contact Bonnie Vaughan RDH at 622-7566 x 216 or
The Maine Dental Access Coalition (MDAC) is a public-private partnership focused on improving access to oral care. The Coalition's mission is ";To advocate for and improve access to quality preventive and comprehensive oral health care for all Maine residents.";
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Maine Dental Access Coalition | 11 Parkwood Drive | Augusta | ME | 04330