Category Archives: Oral health

What we can learn from the failed effort to pass ‘Caleb’s Law’ in California

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Laurel Rosenhall

As part of her beat covering politics for the nonprofit media organization CALmatters, Laurel Rosenhall has documented the long battle of two bereaved parents working to convince California lawmakers to tighten state law as it relates to dental anesthesia.

After their son, Caleb, died two years ago, Tim and Eliza Sears launched an initiative to require that two highly trained professionals – a dentist or oral surgeon and an anesthesiologist, nurse anesthetist or similar specialist – be present when providing dental care to children under anesthesia. They say such a requirement might have saved their child. The couple has faced significant resistance in their quest, as Rosenhall reported in her July 11 piece, “Dental Lobby Wins Again: Grieving Parents Shelve Caleb’s Law Rather Than Dilute It.” Continue reading

Mass. may be moving closer to use of dental therapists to hold down Medicaid costs

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Spazzy Max via Flickr

Earlier this summer, Gov. Charlie Baker lent his support to a long-running effort to bring a new class of dental providers to Massachusetts.

The governor included language that added dental therapists in a package of measures aimed at containing the rising costs of MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program. Continue reading

Sun, surf – and free health care

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org. Follow her on Facebook.

Photo: Courtesy of Volunteers in MedicineDr. Jack McConnell with a patient.

So what does a wealthy doctor who retired and moved to a beach and golf community off the South Carolina coast do when he gets bored with golf?

He rounds up a bunch of his golf buddies – also retired docs – and launches a free clinic.

That’s what Dr. Jack McConnell did in the early 1990s. Continue reading

When covering the opioid epidemic, don’t forget the dental angle

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: ^Thais^ via Flickr

President Donald Trump’s decision to declare opioid addiction a national emergency could be at least a step toward addressing the complex crisis blamed for claiming more than 33,000 lives in 2015.

The emergency declaration potentially could be used to expedite state responses, dispatch U.S. Public Health Service personnel to hard-hit communities and step up requirements for prescriber education, according to Andrew Kolodny, co-director of opioid policy research at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management, who was interviewed for a Washington Post story. Continue reading

Efforts pick up steam to expand Medicaid dental benefits for older adults

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Garry Knight via Flickr

In a recent story for the Baltimore Sun, reporter Andrea K. McDaniels explored a dilemma getting increasing attention these days – the shortage of affordable and accessible oral health services for the nation’s seniors.

“Jocelyn Chapman’s 86-year-old mother needed major dental work, and her family was trying to figure out how to pay for it,” the story began. Continue reading