The Alliance for Health Reform hosted a symposium this past August in Washington, DC on the topic of oral health coverage in America. Top players in the dental field gathered to discuss the issue of access to care and propose possible solutions.
The panel included Lynn Mouden of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Monica Hebi of the ADA, Julie Sitzel of the Pew Center on the States and Christy Forgary (the dental therapist featured in PBS’s documentary Dollars and Dentists, remember?) of Children’s Dental Services in Minnesota.
Over the next 90 minutes, the conversation covered a hodgepodge of topics such as Medicare, mid level providers, the shortage of rural clinicians, the Affordable Care Act, water fluoridation and the specific barriers that affect a patient’s ability to receive dental services.
These are great leaders speaking on the most important issues of our profession.
One remark in particular really hit home with me. Toward the end of the meeting, Monica Hebl from the ADA responded to a reporter’s question on why dentistry continues to face tremendous barriers to care:
“It’s a complicated issue. That’s why so many people need to put there heads together to figure out how we are going to do this and how we are going to fund it fair and effectively and make sure the most appropriate person is treating the most appropriate patient.”
I highly recommend that you listen to these discussions. Play the video sometime this week instead of your weekly television show. Allow these messages to play in the background while you cook dinner tonight. Appreciate the work and passion these professionals have for dentistry and our future careers.
Watch the video here (click on ‘video playlist’ to the right).
Eve Lofthus, Missouri ’15, contributing editor
(photo courtesy of c-span.org)