Kentucky Oral Health Coalition members and oral health stakeholders from across the state convened virtually for the first KOHC quarterly meeting of 2022 on Friday, March 25. We kicked off the meeting with a welcome from our steering committee chair, Dr. Stephanie Poynter.

Alicia Whatley, Policy and Advocacy Analyst at Kentucky Youth Advocates (KYA), presented updates on KOHC policy and budget priorities in the 2022 session, highlighting the status of KOHC agenda items and other relevant bills filed throughout the session including:

SB 87 – Passed Senate Health and Welfare committee, awaiting Senate vote

  • 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 – Awaiting hearing in Senate Health and Welfare committee

  • Allows local city and county governments to control the sale, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products.

HB 174 – Passed House, and Senate Health and Welfare Committee, awaiting Senate vote

  • Extends Medicaid eligibility for new mothers for up to 12 months postpartum.

HB 370 – Passed House and Senate, signed by the Governor

  • Establishes a patient transparency within dental benefits.

HB 525 – Passed House and Senate, awaiting Governor’s signature

  • Adds Certified Community Health Workers as a Medicaid billable service provider.

SR 101 – Adopted by Senate

  • A resolution recognizing February 8, 2022, as Children’s Oral Health Awareness Day.

Additionally, we heard about the current status of the state budget process and the budget priorities we hope to see the included in the final state budget.

Participants heard from a panel of oral health professionals including Dr. Chris Casterline, Dr. Nikki Stone, and Julie Smith, RDH about their experience with COVID-19 and the oral health outcomes they are seeing in their clinics. This panel also discussed the steps they are taking to combat the increase in decay rates and urgent dental needs, including utilization of a new resource, published by KOHC and the Kentucky Primary Care Association, on the impact of COVID-19 and what we can do.

Alicia Whatley provided updates about the Coalition’s activities and upcoming work. She discussed the various resources and information provided throughout National Children’s Dental Health Month in February, and a partnership with La Casita Center to better understand the community’s utilization of health insurance, telehealth services, and barriers to accessing coverage and care. In addition, she discussed what is coming next for the partnership with Delta Dental of Kentucky, including developing a new training to educate oral health professionals on how to use what they’ve learned in practice, utilize the health professionals toolkit, and keep kids safe in their communities. Melissa Collins, Engagement Coordinator with KYA, also provided a sneak peek at the activities and events happening during April to recognize Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Following the KOHC meeting, Coalition members and other oral health providers attended a Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma training for oral health professionals, led by Dr. Christina Howard from the University of Kentucky.

View KOHC meeting slides here.