Access to Dental Care for Children in Rhode Island. Rhode Island Kids Count Issue Brief.Report as inadecuate

Access to Dental Care for Children in Rhode Island. Rhode Island Kids Count Issue Brief. - Download this document for free, or read online. Document in PDF available to download.

Dental disease restricts activities in school, work, and home, and often significantly diminishes the quality of life for many children and adults, especially those who are low income or uninsured. Noting that dental caries (tooth decay) is the most common preventable chronic childhood disease, this Kids Count issue brief considers the extent to which children in Rhode Island have access to dental care. The brief describes the effects of inadequate dental care and notes that the groups of children at greatest risk for unmet dental needs are those from low-income families, from minority and immigrant families, with special health care needs, from families with access barriers, or who are young. The report also describes the availability of dental services for children in Rhode Island receiving medical assistance and uses diagrams to illustrate the current resource allocation for dental services for children and adults receiving medical assistance. Dental services for Rhode Island children are described, and including services through community health centers, private dentists, hospital-based dental services, school-based dental services, and school-based dental screenings. The report highlights strategies to improve access to dental services for low-income children in Rhode Island, including: (1) increasing reimbursement rates to dental providers caring for children receiving medical assistance; (2) exploring the potential for a dental benefits manager as a strategy to reduce barriers to care and to increase accountability; (3) maintaining and strengthening the dental services infrastructure at community health centers; (4) and identifying resources and strategies to increase access to interpreters and translation services for clients whose primary language is not English. Four levels of dental treatment are identified and performance measures delineated. The report also delineates recommendations for a dental insurance program for children. (Contains 14 references.) (KB)

Descriptors: Access to Health Care, At Risk Persons, Child Health, Children, Dental Health, Health Needs, Health Services, Program Descriptions

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, One Union Station, Providence, RI 02903. Tel: 401-351-9400; Fax: 401-351-1758; e-mail: rikids[at]; Web site: For full text: brief May 2002 update.pdf.

Author: Katz, Linda; Fontes, Janice; Ross, Maureen; Lawrence, Robin; Andrews, John; Kernan, Sharon; Leddy, Tricia; O-Bara, Joan; Young, Jo


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