A patient – we’ll call her Regina – was desperate: no employer health insurance and two broken teeth.
A Virginia Department of Health dental clinic provided the only care she could afford. When budget cuts threatened clinics like Regina’s, the Coalition helped restore funding – and countless teeth for patients like her. Preventive dental care now means millions of dollars saved on future emergency health care spending.
- Restore funding to state-supported dental clinics. The governor's budget for 2013 fiscal year eliminates funding for state-supported Virginia Department of Health dental clinics. These clinics treat over 20,000 patients a year, mostly children. The Coalition advocated for the clinics to remain open through FY2015, giving time to create a transition plan.
- Expand insurance coverage to hundreds of thousands of Virginians. Accepting a federal match to expand Medicaid coverage in Virginia up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (or $32,000 for a family of four) would cover emergency dental extractions for hundreds of thousands of adults. The expansions has the potential to keep unnecessary hospital costs down and better serve patients' oral health.
- Monitor Affordable Care Act implementation. The Coalition monitored all legislation related to the Affordable Care Act and the mandated pediatric dental benefit.
- Support an update to the duties and licensure requirements of dental hygienists in Virginia (HB1349). This bill provided a more up-to-date definition of duties and licensure requirements of dental hygienists. Both the VDHA and the VDA support this bill.