April 2021 Newsletter
Share your work at this year’s Summit

Each of you is doing incredible work to improve the health of Virginia families, patients, and communities. Give your colleagues a chance to learn from you by presenting at the Summit on October 7 in Richmond! We set aside sessions to share Virginia-specific work from you, your colleagues, or other organizations you know are advancing oral health equity. Click here to apply to present at the 2021 Summit by May 7!

Whether you implemented a brand-new program, led an innovative research project, or advocated for policy change, we want to hear from you. Apply for a 15-minute presentation as part of a panel or for a full 50-minute presentation. Not sure if your work is applicable? Speakers are welcome to apply on any topic that impacts health care in Virginia, such as the topics we list here. Not sure of the price tag? Presenters get a free ticket to the event! 

This is an excellent opportunity to share your work with Summit attendees from across Virginia’s health care space, including dental and medical providers, community health workers, home visitors, social works, public health professionals, and health advocates. Apply now to be considered!
Unite Virginia: Enabling Closed Loop Referrals
Webinar May 25, 12:00 pm -1:00 pm

Have you heard about Unite Virginia - a coordinated care network of health and social care providers? Through an intuitive technology platform, users can send and receive referrals, address people’s social needs, and improve health across communities. This platform is free for Virginia’s health safety net community! Catalyst is hosting a webinar for our partners to introduce the Unite Virginia system and help you understand how it can bring more patients into your dental clinics or enable you to help your patients and clients access the services they need (think resources for food insecurity, substance use disorder, transportation). Register today!
New Technology Brings Affordable Water Fluoridation Options to Small Systems

Thanks to CDC-funded research, 2730 of Virginia’s 2806 public water systems will be able to access optimally fluoridated water through the use of a new fluoridation technology. This consists of an economical tablet and feeder system to fluoridate water in systems that serve between 50 and 10,000 people, most of whom live in underserved, rural areas. That means the 19 million Americans who rely on water from small water systems could now have properly fluoridated water, an integral piece of overall health since drinking fluoridated water keeps teeth strong and reduces cavities in children and adults. Learn more about Virginia’s community water fluoridation efforts here.
Sponsor the 2021 Catalyst Annual Summit

If your organization is interested in sponsoring the 2021 Summit, please contact Alle Witt at awitt@vahealthcatalyst.org
Federal Updates Impacting Our Communities

  • About 3.7 million Americans are newly eligible for subsidized health care coverage through the ACA Marketplace due to new provisions in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), signed into law in March 2021. For two years, people with income above 400% of the poverty level ($51,520 for an individual; $106,000 for a family of 4) can apply for financial assistance when purchasing a health insurance plan. Learn more about the law here, and find the latest coverage options in Virginia here

  • America’s drinking water infrastructure needs some work; Virginia’s alone requires $18 billion in additional funding to ensure clean, safe drinking water in all communities. Just yesterday, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021, which allots $35 billion over 5 years to states that will support upgrading water facilities and improving pipes. This could open Congress to President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, which, if enacted, will invest $2 trillion in America’s transportation infrastructure, water systems, and broadband availability, among other goals. Catalyst will continue to follow these policies in Congress, so stay tuned for more updates. If you’re interested in water equity work across Virginia, learn more here. 
Additional Resources

Find the latest updates on Catalyst’s adult dental benefit webpage for patient and provider resources, such as a social media toolkit and FAQs about the benefit details. Check out the recording of the latest webinar from March 30 geared towards dental safety net clinics specifically.  
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Dental providers play a pivotal role in catching the early signs of oral cancer, and educating patients or clients about risk factors, such as smoking or alcohol use. HPV infection can lead to cancers of the neck and head, which can be hard to see and diagnose, but the widely known HPV vaccine can help prevent HPV-related cancers. Click here to understand more about the connection between HPV and oral health.
Funding opportunity deadline extended! Oral Health Integration for Families

FQHCs with dental programs in Virginia can apply to be a part of a regional learning collaborative to improve the oral health of young children through interprofessional training, primary care and oral health integration, and effective care coordination models. This project, called Transforming Oral Health for Families (TOHF), provides expert-led training and quality improvement opportunities to health centers in VA, NY, DC, and MD, and includes a stipend of $25,000 to offset project-related costs. Learn more about the project, and complete an application by May 31.