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Illinois House to Hold Appropriation Hearing on Improving Access to Dental Care for More Than 2 Million Children and Adults
Date:4/15/2008

m to serve this sector of patients. The result is a dental care gap in more than 40-percent of the state.

"It's imperative that we meet with our state officials to give them a first-person narrative of the crisis at hand," said Lincoln Dental Society executive director, Sheila Brown, DDS. "The situation affects families from Chicago to Southern Illinois every day. We implore our elected leaders to work with us on a long-term solution before they adjourn this summer."

The Bridge to Healthy Smiles campaign has proposed a comprehensive package of legislation that includes: raising the Medicaid reimbursement rate for dental care; opening 10 dental clinics by 2010 throughout Illinois for families in need, and providing incentives for new dentists to practice in underserved areas by forgiving a portion of their dental school loans.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, only 26 percent low-income families see dentists annually compared to 40 percent of middle-income families and 54 percent of high-income families.

"We've laid out a comprehensive plan that has been endorsed by some of the state's best dental practitioners and oral healthcare advocates," added Dr. Dickey. "This is a real solution to a longstanding problem that has plagued the healthcare industry for decades."

ISDS members are scheduled to testify about the importance of closing the dental care gap and offer solutions before the Human Services Appropriations Committee at 9 a.m. April 17.

About Bridge To Healthy Smiles Coalition

The Bridge to Healthy Smiles campaign is led by a diverse coalition working to improve oral health across the State of Illinois. Coalition members include: Illinois State Dental Society, Lincoln Dental Society, Hispanic Dental Association, Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition, IFLOSS, Illinois Head Start Association, Illinois Society of Pediatric Dentists, Illinois Faith Based Association, Illin
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SOURCE Bridge to Healthy Smiles Coalition
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