As of the date of this publication, MO HealthNet adult dental coverage maintains a solid position in the state budget. As the Missouri legislature completes the budget and sends it to Governor Greitens, we will continue to monitor and advocate. The planned change of MO HealthNet to a statewide managed care system has resulted in some shifting of dollars for that change, but no reduction in overall funding. Thanks to everyone who has continued to advocate for this important state policy decision, including our partners, members and the many people who participated in the 2017 Oral Health Legislative Awareness Event on March 9 at the Capitol. The contacts made that day help to drive home the importance of sound public policy for Missouri’s oral health. Thanks also to the legislators who continue to support adult dental in particular and oral health in general.
The 2017 Oral Health Policy Conference was held March 9 and 10, 2017, in Jefferson City. The conference survey of attendees is still in process, but preliminary results indicate a high level of satisfaction with the presenters, discussion topics and networking. Most attendees report feeling inspired to learn more and to work to improve the oral health of all Missourians. As with the 2016 conference, the panel discussion – this year on emergency dental diversion projects – was immensely popular. All presenters have received high ratings thus far. At the suggestion of previous conference attendees, more interactive material was included in this conference, including Friday morning discussion groups built around the Oral Health 2020 goals. Attendees have indicated they appreciated the opportunity to spend time talking with each other about how to achieve these broad national goals and how to move these goals in Missouri. Final survey results should be ready for the June 23 Annual Meeting of the Board.
The conference presentation slides are available now. And don’t miss the Coalition film, Victories & Challenges, premiered at the Conference. You can find these and other resources on the Coalition website.
The Coalition conducted a series of webinars in 2016 to provide information and education about advocating at the local level for sound oral health policy. Participants indicated they valued participating and learned from the webinars. Attendance was diverse and included people from local public health agencies (LPHAs; i.e., county health departments). In 2017, the Coalition is responding to interest of LPHAs in oral health and is working with the Missouri Association of Local Public Health Agencies (MoALPHA) and Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, including Dr. John Dane, MO Dental Director, to develop and deploy webinars aimed at supporting LPHA work with oral health issues locally, including the unique role LPHAs play in public water fluoridation issues.
April marked a significant shift for the Coalition. We moved offices to a better location more suited to our needs. We are now located in the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce building at 213 Adams Street. There were interruptions in internet and telephone service to the office during the first week or so of April, so if you tried to reach us recently and did not get a reply, please try again. See Contact Information for our new location and phone number.
The Annual Meeting, Board of Directors, will be held in the Arthur P. Grimshaw Boardroom at the JC Area Chamber of Commerce building, 213 Adams Street, Jefferson City 65101-3203. (See Events.) Although a historic building, the first floor is accessible. We look forward to enjoying this new meeting location. Board meetings are open to the membership (if you are not a member, please join – we need your help to improve the oral health of all Missourians!). Lunch will be provided.
We look forward to seeing you at the annual meeting!
Gary Harbison, Executive Director