As the Kentucky 2022 General Assembly comes to a close, KOHC reflects on policy and budget wins from the legislative session and missed opportunities. Throughout the session, Kentuckians called on lawmakers to prioritize their health and wellbeing – including policies that are good for oral health.

One of the core functions of the Kentucky Oral Health Coalition is advocating for policies and budget priorities that are good for oral health in Kentucky. KOHC supports the health and budget priorities outlined on the Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children and engaged throughout the session in advocacy efforts for increased oral health access, literacy, and improved outcomes to create systemic change within the health delivery system. Below are health and oral health policies that made it through the legislative process and will become law in July.

  • HB 174, Representatives Cantrell and Moser, which was included in Senate Bill 178, Senator Raque Adams – Extends Medicaid eligibility for new mothers for up to 12 months postpartum. This bill goes into effect immediately. We urge the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to honor their commitment to ensure new moms can access critical health care during their child’s first year of life.
  • HB 370, Representative Lewis – Establishes patient transparency within dental benefits.
  • HB 525, Representative Moser – Adds Certified Community Health Workers as a Medicaid billable service provider, a service that can be utilized in dental clinics.
  • SR 101, Senator Stivers – A resolution recognizing February 8, 2022, as Children’s Oral Health Awareness Day.

In addition, we saw several budget investments that are good for the health and oral health of all Kentuckians including increased funding for Family Resource and Youth Service Centers to support students’ learning and sustained investments in the HANDS home-visiting program to support young children and their families.

Along with these policy and budget wins, there were a few bills filed this session that aimed to improve the health of Kentuckians but did not make it to the finish line, including:

  • SB 87 – Requires the Department for Medicaid Services to create a minimum fee schedule for covered dental services and require that managed care organizations reimburse dental service providers in an amount at least equal to the fee-for-service rate for the same covered service.
  • SB 166 – Allows local city and county governments to control the sale, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products.

Within the final state budget, we saw a missed opportunity to invest in child health by prioritizing dollars for closing the gap in Medicaid enrollment among Latinx youth and by increasing the budget allocations to support mental health providers in schools.

In addition to the positive bills outlined above, KOHC also worked to prevent the passage of harmful bills. One example is an effort to make community water fluoridation programs optional, a measure that was included in House Bill 361.

As these bills become law, KOHC will continue to monitor them and advocate for effective implementation and their impact on individuals. KOHC thanks CareQuest Institute for Oral Health for their support in ensuring the Coalition is able to effectively advocate for policies and budget investments that are good for Kentucky kids and families.