July 2021 Newsletter
Medicaid Adult Dental is Here

A comprehensive adult dental benefit is now officially a part of Virginia’s Medicaid as of July 1, 2021! We – and that’s a universal “we” to include all of you who supported these efforts! – have worked tirelessly for over 10 years to make sure Virginians can access quality dental care so that they can have a healthy mouth, eat healthy foods, better control other chronic conditions, obtain and maintain employment, and smile confidently. Many of you played a crucial role in the advocacy efforts that helped to secure this benefit for nearly 800,000 Virginians. Thank you all for your time, effort, and persistence – it’s finally here
  • What does it cover? Adults over 21 years of age can get teeth cleanings, exams, root canals, dentures, fillings, and more covered through the new benefit. Learn more with these resources for patients and dental providers from DentaQuest and DMAS.
  • How do I find dental care? If you’re an adult member of Medicaid, you’re automatically enrolled for the dental benefit! Search DentaQuest’s Find a Provider tool to find dental providers where you live.
  • I’m a dental provider; what do I need to know? If you or a colleague wants to sign up as a Medicaid provider, visit the DentaQuest website to learn about credentialing. Also, check out the Medicaid Financial Forecasting Tool created by our friends at CareQuest Institute to help providers understand the financial costs and revenue associated with the benefit.
  • Where can I learn more? Catalyst’s adult dental benefit webpage has links to resources for patients and providers – including a social media toolkit, flyers in English and Spanish, and webinar recordings. Check it out and spread the news!

Join us for a webinar “Medicaid Adult Dental Benefit: Impact Across Virginia’s Communities” on July 22, 12:00 pm -1:00 pm to learn how the benefit will impact our communities. You’ll hear from representatives from the dental safety net community, DMAS and DentaQuest (the benefit administrator). Register here today!
Catalyst Happenings: What's Up and How to Get Involved

We hope you will join us for a casual webinar where we'll provide Catalyst updates on July 23 at 10 am! A LOT is going on! We’ll share some information and opportunities, and we will have a chance to talk with each other about the future of public oral health!

The webinar Zoom link is below. If you'd like a calendar invite please email Danny Hillard at Dhillard@vahealthcatalyst.org
Word on Water: 
Catalyst and many statewide partners are working to improve water equity in Virginia through the work of the Water Equity Taskforce, including workgroups looking specifically at communication and water equity in rural Virginia. Learn more and get involved! 

Federal Bill Would Add Preventive Dental to Medicare

A new bill in the House of Representatives seeks to add preventive dental services, vision, and hearing coverage to Medicare (the Federal health insurance program for folks 65+). The bill has strong support from Democrats who hold the majority in Congress, and the bill sponsors hope that it will be included as part of the budget bill that Congress will vote on in the fall. Nearly 1.5 million Virginia’s are enrolled in Medicare, many of whom face significant cost barriers to access dental care. In its current form, Medicare recipients will only be eligible for preventive services; bill sponsors have indicated that they intend to support the addition of other dental services incrementally. Like the addition of a Medicaid dental benefit for adults in the commonwealth, this is a critical next step to ensuring all Virginians have access to comprehensive health care. You can learn more about the new legislation here, and find additional resources and information from our friends at Families USA.

Additional Resources
American Rescue Plan Act

The American Rescue Plan includes funding to support Virginia’s families experiencing economic hardship. Voices for Virginia’s Children compiled resources to better understand the upcoming benefits for Virginians, including tax assistance, rent relief, and broadband support. These resources are especially useful for those working in family support roles such as social workers, home visitors, care coordinators, and community health workers. 
Child Nutrition Assistance

The US Dept. of Agriculture has extended child nutrition waivers through June 2022, which means that schools can offer free meals to all children – regardless of household income – even throughout the summer! Studies show that students who participate in school meal programs consume more milk, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables during mealtimes and have better overall diet quality than students who don’t participate. Families may use the online USDA Meals for Kids Site Finder to find nearby summer meals program locations. Parents and others may also text “food” or “comida” to 877-877 to receive a list of nearby feeding centers. Find out more information and options for providing summer meals from Virginia Dept. of Education.
LGBTQIA+ Oral Health Equity

Several states have passed laws restricting the rights of LGBTQIA+ people, particularly transgender people. This recorded workshop, hosted by the Oral Health Progress and Equity Network (OPEN), discusses these policies and strategies to apply toward education and advocacy. You can also find The Equality Act toolkit for the oral health community they discuss, and how to use it. 
Sponsor the 2021 Catalyst Annual Summit

If your organization is interested in sponsoring the 2021 Summit, please contact Alle Witt at awitt@vahealthcatalyst.org
Other Opportunities
Register today: FREE Special Needs Dentistry – You Can Do It! Trainings
In partnership with the VDH, Catalyst is offering a a free five-part webinar series for dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants to provide the dental community with the tools and knowledge to treat patients with special health care needs. The series covers topics like treatment planning, the latest clinical information and recommendations, and trends in special care dentistry. Attendees can receive 10 free CE credits for the series! Learn more here and register today! The next cohort begins on July 15.
Upcoming Catalyst Meetings:

Early Dental Home workgroup: July 21, 11:00 am-12:00 pm

School-based Health workgroup: July 22, 11:00 am-12:00 pm

Is your FQHC interested in developing a family-centered and team-based model of integrating oral health with primary care? Are you motivated to improve the oral health of young children and their caregivers? Then you may be interested in applying for the Transforming Oral Health for Families (TOHF) learning collaborative! Participating health centers receive a stipend of $25,000 to offset project-related costs. Learn more about the project, and complete an application by July 31 to join the next cohort beginning September 2021.