Category Archives: Oral health

Aftermath of child’s death continues to highlight risks of pediatric dental anesthesia

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: Omar Bárcena via Flickr

A state jury found a former Hawaii dentist not guilty of manslaughter and other criminal charges related to the highly publicized death of a 3-year-old girl under her care.

It was the latest development in a nearly five-year-old case that focused attention on the potential risks to children who receive anesthesia or other sedation as part of a dental procedure. Continue reading

Maine’s Medicaid expansion won’t help those who need dental care

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.

Backers of Maine’s Medicaid expansion, approved by voters in 2017, have been locked in a court battle with outgoing Republican governor Paul LePage, an outspoken opponent of the step.

At the same time, Gov.-elect Janet Mills, a Democrat, has offered assurances that she will put the expansion into place “on day one” if it hasn’t been implemented by the time she assumes office in January, Joe Lawlor of the  Portland Press Herald reports.  Continue reading

Panelists explore what’s missing from Medicare

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

While Medicare may be a cornerstone of keeping older adults healthy and reducing poverty, it’s far from perfect. Closing huge gaps in coverage ­– some might argue chasms – could improve public health, reduce hospitalizations, help support cognitive function, maintain quality of life and save the health system millions of dollars. But it will literally take an act of Congress for anything to really change.

At October’s Gerontological Society of America Conference in Boston, experts at the “Medicare, What’s Missing” session examined links between systemic health and oral, vision and hearing health. They looked at some major policy gaps and potential fixes. While everyone agreed more needs to be done, true reform will likely happen by baby steps. Continue reading

Passage of Dental Health Act a rare act of bipartisanship

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.

The Action for Dental Health Act of 2018 has been described as a modest piece of legislation.

But supporters have also hailed the measure as a heartening acknowledgment by federal legislators of the need to respond to the long-unmet dental needs of millions of Americans. In a rare show of bipartisanship, Congress last week passed the legislation, which is headed to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law. Continue reading

New research highlights gulf between primary care, dental care

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: Minh-Kiet Callies via Flickr

A pediatrician sees a child with untreated tooth decay, but doubts a dentist will be available in the child’s community. The pediatrician does not write a referral.

A dentist notices a patient’s suspicious oral lesion, but fails to follow up. Care is delayed.

A pregnant woman with an infected tooth is advised to seek dental care but has no regular oral health provider. She ends up in an emergency room where her underlying dental problem remains unresolved.

Continue reading

Event provides perspectives on California’s health policy landscape

Emily Willingham

About Emily Willingham

Emily Willingham (@ejwillingham) is AHCJ's core topic leader on the social determinants of health. She is a science journalist whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, and Forbes, among others, and co-author of "The Informed Parent: A Science-Based Guide to Your Child's First Four Years."

Photo: Elliot Margolies via Flickr

Health Affairs held an October event in Sacramento on California’s health policy landscape (also available as a podcast).

Here are some highlights from the panelists, all of whom are excellent potential sources for stories about health care policy in California and around the nation: Continue reading