Deborah Colburn: Positive results

To the editor:

The 2008 legislative session is over, and some positive results were achieved for increasing access to dental services for Coloradoans in the coming year.

For this, we owe Gov. Ritter our thanks for his efforts to improve access to oral health care via the "Building Blocks" initiative.

The legislative highlights included:

• Expansion of the eligibility for CHP+ children to 225 percent of the federal poverty level, increased efforts to enroll children in CHP+ and a more efficient process to determine income eligibility.

• Expansion of services and rate increases for seniors for the Dental Assistance Program for eligible seniors.

• Increasing dental fees under Medicaid by 52 percent with more than $12 million in additional state and federal funds.

• Reorganization of the public health system to allow for greater recognition of oral health.

OHAC! and its coalition partners have set a 2009 agenda to include addressing the need for an adult dental benefit under Medicaid with the top priority of assuring pregnant women receive coverage under both Medicaid and CHP+.

Also under discussion is enhancing the CHP+ dental benefit by providing a Medicaid wrap around for children in need of additional services.

Hopefully, these elements will become part of "Building Blocks" II for health care reform.

Deborah Colburn

Managing director, Oral Health Awareness Colorado!

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