America’s 55 million Medicare beneficiaries would receive comprehensive dental, vision and hearing benefits under a bill introduced this month in Congress.
HR 5396 (Medicare Dental, Vision and Hearing Benefit Act of 2016) is given no chance of passage by Govtrack.us, a website that tracks Congressional legislation and computes the probability for enactment. But the bill serves of a reminder of gaps in Medicare coverage that represent significant challenges to many elderly and disabled Americans. Continue reading
Denti-Cal, California’s Medicaid dental program, faces ongoing challenges in getting care to its roughly 13 million beneficiaries. Only about half the children and a quarter of the adults covered by the program are getting dental services. As in other states, a shortage of participating dentists is a major problem and there are other troubles as well.
In a recent piece for California Healthline, reporter Ana Ibarra looked at efforts to reform the system. In this new Q&A for AHCJ, Ibarra reflects upon the future of Denti-Cal and discusses the rest of her complex and rich beat as a web reporter for California Healthline. She also shares some advice on the value of journalism fellowships in developing skills and making connections that can help reporters excel. Read more.
The debate on soda taxes is back, this time in Philadelphia.
City leaders there want to charge 1.5 cents for every ounce of soda sold in a move aimed at not just discouraging sugary drink consumption but also to help fund a range of initiatives such as expanded prekindergarten and library renovations, according to media reports. Continue reading
With good public dental benefits, extensive community water fluoridation, and reductions in tooth loss among seniors, Minnesota has earned top marks in a new report card that ranks the oral health of elders in states across America.
Florida, which is preparing to launch an Older Adult Oral Health Surveillance Project, also won praise in the latest State of Decay report. Continue reading
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