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Dental Services Expand to Serve More Than 280,000 Michigan Children
Date:6/12/2008

Genesee, Saginaw counties join Healthy Kids Dental July 1

LANSING, Mich., June 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm and the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) today announced an expansion of the state's Healthy Kids Dental program to include 80,000 children in Genesee and Saginaw counties, bringing the total number of Michigan children covered to more than 280,000 children. The expansion takes effect July 1, 2008.

"We are extending needed health care for thousands of Michigan children by providing them with access to quality dental services," Granholm said. "Since 2000 when it began as a pilot program, Healthy Kids Dental has proven to be one of the nation's most effective public-private partnerships in delivering care to some of our state's most vulnerable residents."

The program is a partnership between MDCH, Delta Dental, and the Michigan Dental Association and is available to Medicaid-eligible recipients under the age of 21 in 61 of Michigan's 83 counties. Services include oral exams, teeth cleaning, x-rays, and cavity fillings.

"We are proud to be able to expand these services to children in Genesee and Saginaw counties," said MDCH Director Janet Olszewski. "Our children deserve access to quality dental care and this program plays a key role by providing that care."

"By using Delta Dental's network of participating dentists and processing claims as we would for our other customers, we have helped this extraordinary partnership increase access to dental treatment for hundreds of thousands of Michigan children," said Thomas J. Fleszar, president and chief executive officer, Delta Dental. "By all measures, Healthy Kids Dental is a success."

University of Michigan researcher Dr. Stephen A. Eklund conducted a study in 2007 and found dental visits were 50 percent higher for children enrolled in Healthy Kids Dental compared with children enrolled in the traditional Medicaid dental plan. The study included data from the program's first full year, 2001, through the end of 2005.

"The expansion of Healthy Kids Dental into two counties with major urban population centers is a clear testimony to the success of the program," said Joanne Dawley, D.D.S., president of the Michigan Dental Association. "This expansion will help even more children receive much-needed dental care, which is an integral part of primary care. The Michigan Dental Association looks forward to the day when children throughout the state will have access to Healthy Kids Dental."

Healthy Kids Dental was named by the American Dental Association as a top five model for improving access to dental care for low-income populations.

For more information about Healthy Kids Dental, visit http://www.michigan.gov/mdch or http://www.deltadentalmi.com .


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SOURCE Delta Dental Michigan, Ohio, Indiana
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