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Monday, October 20, 2014

Joint Commission on Health Care Presents Oral Health Access Report

The Joint Commission on Health Care (JCHC) is a bipartisan committee comprised of Virginia General Assembly legislators tasked with ensuring that the Commonwealth "adopts the most cost-effective and efficacious means of delivery of health care services so that the greatest number of Virginians receive quality health care."

JCHC staff conducts research based on resolutions passed by Virginia legislators that direct JCHC to study an issue; this research is then presented with policy recommendations to JCHC legislative members for analysis, and a public comment period is offered.  After a period of analysis and public comment, JCHC members reconvene to vote on policy recommendations that ultimately can become proposed legislation, if needed, or language to develop new policies or procedures. These policy recommendations do not necessarily take political or budgetary realities into consideration, but present possible policy solutions that, if enacted, could significantly impact (in this case) oral health access.  Members can adopt one or multiple options, a hybrid of options or newly-suggested options submitted by the public.

Study: Oral Health Access in the Dental Safety Net

JCHC staff conducted a study on the dental capacity of Virginia's oral health care safety net providers as part of its 2014 JCHC Work Plan.  JCHC members met on Wednesday, October 8 to hear staff present a report of study results, which included seven policy recommendations that address dental safety net capacity and opportunities for improving oral health.  Members will reconvene on November 5, after a public comment period to vote on which recommendations they will support.

JCHC Staff Recommendations Include:

Option 1: Take no action.

Option 2: Introduce a budget amendment to increase funding for the following safety net providers for the provision of dental services

  • $3.3 million for the Virginia Association of Free and Charitable Clinics member services.
  • $6.1 million for Community Health Centers
  • $1 million for the Virginia Health Care Foundation for the creation of additional dental safety net sites.

Option 3: Introduce a budget amendment for $9,530,325 general funds (GF) and $9,530,325 non-general funds (NGF) in fiscal year (FY) 2016 to expand Medicaid to include preventive dental coverage for adults.

Option 4: Introduce a budget amendment for $63,535,499 GF and $63,535,499 NGF in FY 2016 to expand Medicaid to include full dental coverage for adults.

Option 5: Introduce a budget amendment for $400,000 GF to allow the Virginia Department of Health to establish an Oral Health Workforce Fund.

Option 6: Request by letter of the JCHC Chair that a representative of the Virginia Oral Health Coalition's Teledentistry Workgroup report on their efforts to JCHC by October 2015.

Option 7: Request by letter of the JCHC Chair that a workgroup of primary stakeholders, including the Virginia Dental Association, Virginia Dental Hygienists' Association, Virginia Department of Health, Virginia Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, Virginia Community Healthcare Association, Virginia Oral Health Coalition, Virginia Board of Dentistry, Old Dominion University's School of Dental Hygiene and Virginia Commonwealth University's School of Dentistry, be created to develop a pilot program to expand the remote supervision of dental hygienists model to safety net facilities. The workgroup should report to JCHC by October 2015.

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Traditionally, if the Commission members vote to adopt a policy option that requires legislation or a budget amendment, a member of the Commission will introduce the legislation or a budget amendment in the next General Assembly session. 

Public Comment Period through October 30

The JCHC is accepting written public comments on the proposed options through close of business on Thursday, October 30, 2014.  VaOHC will submit comments and recommends our partners do the same.  Comments may be submitted via:

  • Email: sreid@jchc.virginia.gov
  • Fax: 804.786.5538
  • Mail: Joint Commission on Health Care, PO Box 1322, Richmond, VA 23218

If you have any questions about the JCHC study, please contact Sarah Bedard Holland at 804.269.8721.

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Sarah Holland

Sarah HollandSarah Holland

Sarah Holland is the Coalition's executive director. Other posts by Sarah Holland

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