More funding means increased dental care for children, families in need

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Over $5.1 million will be awarded to 14 non-profit dental clinics across Wisconsin to increase access to dental care.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services will provide grants between $59,000 and $150,000 per clinic over the next three years. The goal is to serve all patients, including Medicaid members, people who have low income, people with disabilities, and those who are uninsured, the DHS release stated.

In 2021, only one in three Wisconsin Medicaid members between ages three and 20 received preventative dental services, and seven out of 10 people on Medicaid didn’t receive dental care at all, Wisconsin State Dental Director, Dr. Russell Dunkel explained.

“By making it easier for dental health providers to serve more Medicaid and uninsured patients, we aim to address a critical disparity,” Dunkel continued.

Through the DHS funding, non-profit dental clinics will be able to serve 7,000 more patients over three years which includes more than 4,700 Medicaid and BadgerCare Plus patients and over 2,700 patients who are uninsured or low income, the report stated.

“This funding won’t address the dental disparity in Wisconsin alone, but increasing access to services is key,” said Paula Tran, State Health Officer for Wisconsin.

According to the release, one in five children and nearly one in three adults with low income have untreated tooth decay which can impact a child’s ability to speak, eat, and learn. The CDC estimates that 34 million school hours are lost each year in the United States due to unplanned dental pain and care.

Source: More funding means increased dental care for children, families in need / NBC15

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