DHMH Oral Health Report Details Gains in Dental Care Access

Baltimore, MD (December 30, 2014) – Maryland continues to perform significantly above the national Health Employer Data Information Set (HEDIS) average for children’s dental services utilization, at 68.3 percent, more than 19 percentage points higher than the 2012 HEDIS average of 49.2 percent. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) has shared these data this week with the Governor and General Assembly.
The 2014 Annual Oral Health Legislative Report submitted by the Maryland Medicaid Program and the Office of Oral Health within DHMH shared other gains:
  • As of August, 1,354 dentists have enrolled with DHMH’s dental provider for Medicaid, DentaQuest, to provide care for enrollees. That is up from 649 in August 2009.
  • Also, approximately 394,000 children and adults in Medicaid received dental care in 2013.
  • In an eight-year period, less than one percent of children enrolled in Medicaid sought treatment for a dental diagnosis in the emergency room.
  • The percentage of pregnant females 14 years and older enrolled for any period receiving a dental service in 2013 was 28.1 percent.
“The gains in this Oral Health Report reflect the priority the O'Malley-Brown Administration has placed on improving benchmarks for health – much like we have with such areas as infant mortality and preventable hospitalizations,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “A healthier Maryland is a better and more productive Maryland.”
“Over the last eight years, we've remained committed to expanding access to dental care for more Marylanders, and we continue to see results,” said Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown. “While we’re making great progress, there are still far too many adults and children in our state who don’t have access to basic dental services. This important work to ensure that all Marylanders get the quality care they need to lead a healthy, productive life must continue.”
“Oral health is inseparable from overall health, and Maryland's efforts to keep residents healthy have been outstanding,” said U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland). “As an author of legislation that will help address this important cause, I am committed to seeing continued success at the federal level and here in our state.”
“Oral health remains a critical component of overall health,” said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, Secretary of DHMH. “We have worked hard in Maryland to provide greater access to oral health services.”
“Establishing sound oral health behaviors in children through access to these services pays dividends over time,” said Harry Goodman, Director of the DHMH Office of Oral Health. “It is our goal to see even greater utilization in the future.” 
“The Maryland Dental Action Coalition is proud of our ongoing work with the Office of Oral Health as we continue to find ways to provide access to oral health for all Marylanders,” said Margie Donohue, Executive Director of the Maryland Dental Action Coalition.
The report may be viewed here

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