Kentucky received a “C” grade from the Pew Children’s Dental Campaign for meeting the dental health needs of children, the same grade it was given last year.
The Courier-Journal reports the state met or exceeded four of eight benchmarks: The majority of Kentuckians (99.4 percent) have fluoridated community water supplies; the state pays medical providers for early preventive dental health care; the state tracks data on children’s dental health; and the percentage of Medicaid-enrolled children getting dental care (40.8 percent) exceeds the national standard of 38.1 percent.
The state fell short of Pew’s standards when it came to offering sealant programs at high-risk schools; allowing hygienists to place sealants without a dentist’s prior exam; and authorizing new primary-care dental providers. Kentucky also lost points because the rates it pays to dentists for providing Medicaid services is below the norm — only 52 percent, compared to the national average of 60.5 percent.
None of the 50 states assessed in the report met all eight benchmarks. Seven states received an A and 20 states received a B. “An A does not stand for ‘all done,'” said Shelly Gehshan, director of the Pew Children’s Dental Campaign. “It means a state has the key ingredients in place, but it still needs to monitor progress and explore new ways to improve children’s access to dental health.” Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Montana and New Jersey received an F.
More than 20 states improved their grades over 2010. “These gains were achieved primarily by adopting policies to reimburse physicians for preventive dental services, expanding water fluoridation and increasing the percentage of Medicaid-enrolled children who receive care,” the report reads. (Read more)