Category Archives: Oral health

Hispanic health care leaders advocate for better cultural competency

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health, curating related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Elena Rios, president of the National Hispanic Medical Association

Elena Rios, president of the National Hispanic Medical Association

Language and cultural barriers negatively impact the health of Hispanic Americans, federal health officials say. A lack of access to routine health services has contributed to an increase in a variety of conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, tooth decay and gum disease, that disproportionately affect the nation’s more than 50 million Hispanics.

An increase in Hispanic health care providers could help address the need for “culturally competent and linguistically appropriate services,” said Elena Rios, president of the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA).Yet Hispanic physicians, dentists and nurses remain in short supply. Continue reading

Reports balance increased spending on dental care with potential savings elsewhere

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health, curating related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Irina Patrascu via Flickr

While states are required by federal law to offer a full range of dental services to children under Medicaid, adult benefits are considered an optional part of the program.

It would cost at least $1.4 billion to expand Medicaid dental programs in the 22 states where options for adults are currently limited or nonexistent, according to a new research brief from the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute (HPI). Continue reading

Despite reform efforts, California’s Medicaid dental program draws renewed criticism

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health, curating related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Omar Bárcena via Flickr

Photo: Omar Bárcena via Flickr

A California watchdog commission’s recently released report offers a scathing assessment of Denti-Cal – the state’s historically troubled Medicaid dental program.

“Among government programs labeled by participants and beneficiaries as broken, dysfunctional or an outright mess, few have achieved the notoriety of Denti-Cal,” noted the Little Hoover Commission. Continue reading

Veteran reporter brings a fresh eye to the health beat

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health, curating related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Jeffrey Beall via FlickrSmall towns like Littleton, Colo., may have a lot of history and charm, but often few dental practices catering to low-income residents. David Olinger of The Denver Post recently wrote about how one foundation is attempting to change that situation.

Photo: Jeffrey Beall via FlickrSmall towns like Littleton, Colo., may have a lot of history and charm, but often few dental practices catering to low-income residents. David Olinger of The Denver Post recently wrote about how one foundation is attempting to change that situation.

The Delta Dental Foundation has come up with an innovative approach to bringing care to Colorado’s “dental deserts.”

The nonprofit has launched a $3.3 million initiative that has provided 16 medical organizations in the state with the funding to buy dental equipment and hire dental hygienists to bring oral health services to places where they have been hard to find. The initiative, called the Colorado Medical-Dental Integration Project is targeting communities such as Littleton, where on a recent day, 9-year-old Nathan Martin visited a local medical clinic to receive a dental checkup and preventive care from a dental hygienist.

Reporter David Olinger (@dolingerdp) brought the story alive for readers of The Denver Post. Olinger, who describes himself as a “veteran reporter new to the health care beat,” has worked at the newspaper since 1997. Continue reading

Pew study provides trends watch on the dental care access front

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health, curating related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Looli via Flickr

In spite of progress getting better dental care to more children in recent years, it is estimated that more than one-third of Americans still face challenges in getting the oral health services they need.

Lack of money or insurance to pay for care, a shortage of providers in many communities, and challenges with mobility and transportation continue to pose formidable barriers, according to a recent brief from the Pew Charitable Trusts. Continue reading