The Kansas Dental Association is celebrating its 140th anniversary by creating a program to help low-income families receive affordable dental care.  In honor of the anniversary, the association is launching an initiative to encourage 140 more Kansas dentists to participate in Medicaid.

The goal of the program is to have more dentists participate in the government program to overlap with charitable efforts to ensure low-income children have adequate dental care.  “The oral health needs of our state won’t be addressed by any one, single approach ,” said Dr. Hal Hale (KDA President) in the organization’s press release.  “We will continue to look for ways to increase access without sacrificing the high standard of care that Kansans deserve.”

While the goal of the 140 initiative is to help low-income children, KDA has pledged to work with state legislators to expand Medicaid dental access to adults as well.  The cost of the program to participants is not cheap, as Dr. Hale notes, but he is encouraging it as a way to improve society.

“The Pew Report, released last year, estimated that each dentist provides $33,000 annually in free and reduced care.  In Kansas, it is estimated that dentists in the state provide $46.3 million in free and reduced care annually to the people of our state.  This charitable care is provided daily in dental practices, clinics and community settings,” Dr. Hale stated.  “And it is also provided each year during  our Kansas Mission of Mercy dental project where to date, we’ve served (approximately) 20,000 Kansans.  But those programs of charitable care – as impressive as the numbers are – just aren’t enough.  And that’s why we’re taking this additional step in helping address the oral health needs of our state.”