The Kentucky Oral Health Coalition is a group of oral health professionals, advocates, and stakeholders with a collective voice to improve oral health for all Kentuckians. A cornerstone function of KOHC is policy advocacy. Each year members have an opportunity to help shape and prioritize a policy agenda to improve oral health. To help form this policy agenda, KOHC supports the health policies and budget priorities on the Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children. In addition, members of the Coalition have the opportunity to vote on KOHC’s policy agenda during the December annual meeting.

This year, KOHC is excited to announce our policy and budget priorities that are good for the oral health of all Kentuckians.

Policy priorities:

  • Allow city and county governments the option to regulate the use, display, sale, and distribution of tobacco products – including e-cigarettes – to curb tobacco use among youth.

Community water fluoridation:

  • For over 70 years, public water providers have had a direct connection to improving the oral health of Kentucky children and adults through fluoridation of the public drinking water supply. This regulation, administered by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services has been a safe, reliable, cost-effective preventive measure to keep teeth strong and reduce cavities by at least 25%. Despite our historic issues with poor oral health in Kentucky, we have made strides towards improvement. In fact, we are leading the nation with 99% of Kentucky communities providing water fluoridation programs. We as a Commonwealth cannot afford to move backward. We strongly support protecting community water fluoridation in the interest of oral health in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Budget priorities:

  • Sustain funding for the Medicaid and KCHIP programs, and invest in closing the remaining gap in child health coverage
  • Protect current investments in safety net programs, including the Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program (KTAP), Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Women Infants and Children (WIC), and ensure they are not modified in ways that prevent children and families from receiving needed services
  • Invest in the Health Access Nurturing Development Services (HANDS) in home visitation program to provide critical supports to new parents
  • Sustain funding for Family Resource and Youth Service Centers (FRYSCs), who work with families to remove barriers to student learning
  • Ensure dedicated funding to implement the Expanded Care Services policy to support student health

These policy and budget priorities were approved by the Coalition through a member vote during the virtual annual meeting on December 11, 2020. In addition to helping shape these priorities, KOHC looks to our members and stakeholders to advocate for these policy and budget priorities during the legislative session.

Register for Children’s Advocacy Week to receive advocacy opportunity updates with various ways to get involved.