1. by Kim Krisberg

Typical patients at the Neighborhood Services Organization dental clinic in Oklahoma City initially visit because of oral health emergencies. However, they keep coming back after discovering that the clinic offers affordable dental care.

“When people do find us, they tend to stay on as regular patients,” said Laura Gutierrez, dental clinic manager. “It’s not that they didn’t know (oral health) was important, it’s that they couldn’t afford it before.”

Figure

Cieanna Lindoerfer, 5, of West Bend, Wis., opens wide as Holly Koehn inspects her teeth at the Riverfront Dentist in Barton, Wis., in February 2013. Members of the dental practice donated equipment and time to help give children from a local Head Start Program free dental care. The Affordable Care Act has measures designed to improve dental access for children.

Photo by John Ehlke, courtesy The Daily News/AP Images

The clinic, which accepts patients ages 8 and older, offers a full range of reduced-price dental services, such as preventive cleanings for $50 or extractions for $60. The clinic’s three dental chairs are always full and in demand, Gutierrez said. Last year, clinic staff performed more than 7,000 procedures and cared for more than 1,300 patients, the majority of whom had no dental insurance. Gutierrez said she hopes the Affordable Care Act will expand opportunities for affordable dental insurance, but she said she is not counting on it.

“People get insurance but still can’t afford the copays,” she said. “That’s why a clinic like ours is still going to see a need.”

Figure

Children of uninsured parents get a lesson on dental care from a dental hygienist at a mobile clinic in July 2009 in Aurora, Colo. The nonprofit Rocky Mountain Youth Clinics mobile dental van provides preventive dental services such as checkups, sealants and cleanings to children of families who often have no health or dental coverage. Under the Affordable Care Act, pediatric dental coverage is considered an essential benefit that must be offered within health insurance marketplaces.

Photo by John Moore, courtesy Getty Images

Even though millions of Americans are joining the ranks of the insured and gaining access to affordable health care, access to oral health care is still expected to lag, especially among adults. Under the health reform law, pediatric dental coverage is considered an essential benefit that must be offered within the state and federal health insurance marketplaces. However, adult dental coverage is not an essential benefit. And depending on the state, pediatric coverage could be a mixed bag as well.

As an essential benefit, pediatric dental coverage is either offered as part of an overall health insurance package or as a stand-alone plan. Each state exchange is different, with some offering a mix of integrated and stand-alone plans and others offering only one or the other. The Affordable Care Act also places limits on out-of-pocket pediatric dental expenses and eliminates annual or lifetime coverage limits.

On the surface, designating pediatric dental coverage as an essential benefit seems like a significant victory, especially as tooth decay is the most common chronic illness affecting American children. But after a closer examination of the law’s fine print, some advocates are reining in their celebrations. Overall, children got a better deal than adults in terms of oral health access, said Colin Reusch, MPA, senior policy analyst at the Children’s Dental Health Project, however there are still some major gaps.

For example, Reusch said, if a family is shopping for insurance within a marketplace that only offers stand-alone pediatric dental plans, members could purchase a medical insurance plan, forgo the stand-alone dental plan and still be in compliance with the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. So while pediatric dental coverage is an essential benefit, it is not necessarily a required purchase and parents can opt out, Reusch noted.

However, some states are trying to tip the scales in favor of children’s oral health. For instance, Washington and Nevada require that parents buy pediatric dental coverage and in Connecticut, all health insurance plans must include pediatric dental coverage.

Reusch noted that while the American Dental Association estimated that 8.7 million kids would gain dental coverage through the Affordable Care Act, “we really don’t know what will happen.”

“The bottom line is if kids have coverage, they are much more likely to get the care they need and if they get into care early, they’re much less likely to experience cavities,” Reusch told The Nation’s Health. “It’s a net positive no matter how you look at it.”

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 4 million U.S. children had unmet dental needs in 2012 because their families could not afford dental care. Twenty-eight percent of uninsured children had no dental visits for more than two years — including kids who never had a visit at all. Only 10 percent of children with Medicaid or private health insurance had gone that long without a dental visit.

Like many aspects of the Affordable Care Act, the magnitude of the law’s impact will depend on the state. In Florida, which ranks last in providing dental care to low-income kids, oral health may not get the boost advocates were hoping for, said Frank Catalanotto, DMD, chair of Oral Health Florida and a professor in the Department of Community Dentistry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Florida. In Florida, where there is little governmental support for the Affordable Care Act and residents will be limited to the federal marketplace and its pediatric dental coverage loopholes, little could change, Catalanotto said. Florida’s Medicaid program only covers emergency dental care for adults, and even though all Medicaid programs cover dental care for kids, Florida’s reimbursement rates are so low that few dentists take Medicaid patients.

“Kids in Florida will continue to suffer,” Catalanotto told The Nation’s Health.

Catalanotto noted that in 2010 in Florida, $88 million was spent treating children and adults in hospital emergency rooms for preventable dental conditions.

By contrast, in Washington state, the rate of untreated tooth decay among low-income preschoolers dropped by half between 2005 and 2010, and the state’s Medicaid program provides enhanced payments to providers willing to see low-income children, said Diane Oakes, MPH, MSW, deputy director of the Washington Dental Service Foundation.

In addition, state lawmakers recently reinstated adult Medicaid dental benefits to coincide with the program’s eligibility expansion, which means 700,000 adults will gain dental coverage, Oakes said. Now, work turns toward making sure those newly insured adults can find a dentist.

Oakes also noted that even though more adults and children will gain dental coverage, publicly supported programs, such as school-based efforts that screen for and treat oral health problems, will still be needed.

“Those programs that go out into the community are critical to improving overall health,” Oakes told The Nation’s Health.

In fact, the Affordable Care Act specifically addresses public health-based oral health efforts, such as directing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to expand the school-based dental sealant program and authorizing a five-year public health campaign to promote oral health.

Unfortunately, federal policymakers have not provided the funding to bring the measures to fruition. Christine Wood, RDH, executive director of the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors and an APHA member, said she is concerned that organizations that support school sealant programs will pull back under the belief that all kids will now be covered by either Medicaid or private insurance.

“Even for kids who are covered by Medicaid, their parents may not be in a position to take time off work and go to a Medicaid provider,” Wood said. “Being able to provide those services in school and to all kids is still a high priority.”

Wood said the Affordable Care Act’s oral health provisions are a “step in the right direction, but there’s still going to be people who will need population-based public health services.”

Back in Oklahoma, where about half the adult population does not have dental coverage, Terrisa Singleton said she does not expect the Affordable Care Act to have “any impact for adults in a positive way.” As the director of Delta Dental of Oklahoma Oral Health Foundation, which provides funding support for the dental clinic at the Neighborhood Services Organization in Oklahoma City, Singleton said she predicts adult demand for affordable dental care access will remain the same or even increase.

“Adults have no remedy through the (Affordable Care Act),” she said. “This is not the savior we had hoped for. We have to continue our efforts to bring affordable dental care to the people who need it.”

For more information on oral health and the Affordable Care Act, visitwww.cdhp.org or www.oralhealthwatch.org.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Thirty-two executives were recognized Thursday night at The Journal Record’s fifth annual Oklahoma’s Most Admired CEOs event at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City.

Michael Kloiber, president and CEO of Tinker Federal Credit Union, was also inducted into the program’s Chain of Distinction as a three-time honoree.

“Of course, this honor is truly humbling in itself,” Kloiber said. “There is no greater reward than to be held in esteem by those on whose lives you have the opportunity to make a major impact. As the CEO, you have the ability to make them happy, content and challenged, or you can also have the opposite impact.”

Kloiber and the other honorees were selected by a panel of business and community leaders and are profiled in the Oklahoma’s Most Admired CEOs magazine inserted in Thursday’s issue of The Journal Record.

Following is the list of the CEO honorees by category.

Public companies

Mark Funke, Southwest Bancorp/Bank SNB.

Brian Sampson, Vallourec Star.

Private companies

Gary Allison, Tri-State Industrial Group.

Bill Bartmann, CFS2.

Tim Berney, VI Marketing & Branding.

Cheryl Cohenour, Cherokee CRC.

Steve Corley, Eide Bailly.

Becky Frank, Schnake Turnbo Frank.

Todd Lisle, BKD.

Percy Kirk, Cox Communications.

Michael Kloiber, Tinker Federal Credit Union.

Bruce Lawrence, Integris Health.

J.W. Mashburn, Mashburn Enterprises.

Faye Norton, Designer Hardware by Faye.

Robert “Bob” Peterson, Melton Truck Lines.

Shawn Slaton, Cherokee Nation Businesses.

Syndy Thrash, Evans Enterprises.

Nonprofits

Ann Ackerman, Leadership Oklahoma.

Susan Agel, Positive Tomorrows.

Lauren Branch, NewView Oklahoma.

Carrie Brown, Payne Education Center.

Lou Carmichael, Variety Care.

Marci Donaho, Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum.

Mark Graham, Tulsa Area United Way.

David Keith, McAlester Regional Health Center.

Sandra Lewis, Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless.

Connie Thrash McGoodwin, Dale Rogers Training Center.

Stacey Ninness, Neighborhood Services Organization.

In addition, four chief financial officers received Financial Stewardship Awards at the event: Mike Beckwith, Buy for Less; Doug Evans, Cherokee Nation Businesses; Ora Morgan, Autry Technology Center; and Ken Stephens, Neighborhood Services Organization.

The presenting sponsor of this year’s event was UMB Bank. The event was also sponsored by Cox Business, Executive AirShare, Express Employment Professionals, GableGotwals, HoganTaylor and American Fidelity Assurance Co.

“We understand the important part CEOs and CFOs play in our local economy,” said Mary Blankenship Pointer, senior vice president of business development for UMB Bank’s Oklahoma region. “This high-caliber event provides the recognition for their vision and leadership that they deserve.”

OKLAHOMA CITY (JR) – The board of trustees of the Delta Dental of Oklahoma Oral Health Foundation has awarded $1.3 million in grants to 31 organizations throughout the state for dental health and education-related programs.

“Delta Dental of Oklahoma is committed to supporting the efforts of volunteer dental professionals and to advancing oral health in our state,” said John Gladden, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Oklahoma. “We’re proud to partner with these groups who are serving a wide variety of needs and making a difference in the lives of so many.”

Delta Dental of Oklahoma, a not-for-profit dental benefits company based in Oklahoma City, has contributed more than $12 million for dental health and education programs through its Oral Health Foundation since 1998.

The most recent grants included $100,000 to Neighborhood Services Organization for its capital campaign for a new dental clinic.

The new clinic will be five times larger than NSO’s current space and feature five exam rooms, a large waiting area, lab, sterile room, offices and a patient restroom.

“We’re so excited to partner with Delta Dental on our capital campaign,” said Stacey Ninness, NSO president and CEO. “They’ve been extremely supportive of our dental clinic in the past, and their support means we’ll be able to offer dental care to even more uninsured Oklahomans in the future.”

NSO’s capital campaign is to construct a new dental clinic and administrative services facility to replace its former home, a 96-year-old Methodist church at SW 11th Street and S. Walker Avenue. The old facility has been demolished.

John Gladden, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Oklahoma and secretary-treasurer of its Oral Health Foundation, said by offering reduced-fee services to low-income uninsured patients, NSO Dental Clinic significantly reduces the demand on the free dental clinics they support.

“The clinic is a vital part of the oral health care safety net and we encourage others to support their capital campaign with a year-end gift,” Gladden said. “We’re proud to partner with NSO to empower more Oklahomans to get the dental care they need.”

NSO’s dental clinic is a reduced-cost dental clinic that offers emergency appointments, digital X-rays and paperless charts. The part-time clinic sees approximately 2,000 patients and performs 6,000 procedures each year. Services are offered to patients as young as 8 years old without regard for insured status or income.

Delta Dental also awarded $75,000 for the Neighborhood Service Organization low-cost dental clinic; $2,000 to provide free dental care to its transitional living clients; and $1,500 for its oral health community outreach program.

Delta Dental also awarded grants to programs serving the entire state.

MobileSmiles Oklahoma was awarded $240,000. MobileSmiles is a partnership program of the Delta Dental of Oklahoma Oral Health Foundation and Oklahoma Dental Foundation that delivers dental care statewide using two RV-style dental offices on wheels.

Dentists for the Disabled and Elderly in Need of Treatment, known as D-DENT, was awarded $110,000 to provide free dental care and dentures to disabled, elderly, and low-income patients and veterans with the help of volunteer dentists.

Captain Supertooth Program, which conducts oral health education presentations and gives away toothbrushes to elementary school students, was awarded $47,000.

The American College of Dentists Foundation was awarded $10,000 for its Dental Ethics Education program.

Delta Dental awarded $1,500 to Special Olympics for its Healthy Athletes Special Smiles Program, which provides oral health screening and education to Special Olympics athletes.

Other grants were awarded by the Delta Dental of Oklahoma Oral Health Foundation to programs serving central Oklahoma in addition to the Neighborhood Services Organization grants.

Crossings Community Clinic in Oklahoma City was awarded $65,000 for its free dental clinic.

Good Shepherd Ministries of Oklahoma was awarded $35,000 for its free dental clinic in downtown Oklahoma City.

City Rescue Mission in Oklahoma City was awarded $30,000 to provide free dental care for its homeless clients.

Ministries of Jesus in Edmond was awarded $27,000 for its free dental clinic.

The University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry Dental Hygiene Department was awarded $20,000 for its Geriatric Dentistry Program, which provides free dental treatment to low-income elderly patients.

Remote Area Medical Oklahoma was awarded $17,500 for its free dental clinic event to be held in Oklahoma City in August.

Metro Technology Centers was awarded $10,000 for its Dental Assisting Program Clinic for equipment and supplies to provide free dental services for low-income patients.

Norman Regional Health Foundation was awarded $1,900 for its Give Kids a Smile Program, which provides dental care and education to at-risk children.

The foundation will also provide oral hygiene and education kits to Citizens Caring for Children, which supports foster children and their families in central Oklahoma, and Good Samaritan Clinic in Edmond, which provides free medical care and oral health education to vulnerable populations.

Delta Dental also provided grants to programs serving other parts of the state.

Eastern Oklahoma Donated Dental Services was awarded $100,000 to provide dental care and dentures for low-income, elderly and disabled patients through their network of volunteer dentists.

Neighbor for Neighbor was awarded $96,000 for its NFN Dental Clinic, which provides free dental care services to those in need.

Catholic Charities of Tulsa was awarded $80,000 for its Mother Teresa Dental Care Clinic to provide free dental care and dentures.

Morton Comprehensive Health Services was awarded $10,000 for its free dental clinic serving the homeless population in midtown Tulsa.

Green Country Free Clinic in Bartlesville was awarded $10,000 for its new free dental clinic.

Free Clinic of Mayes County in Pryor was awarded $5,000 for its Dental and Dentures Program.

Tri-County Technology Center in Bartlesville was awarded $5,000 for its Dental Hygiene Clinic and Volunteer Dental Clinic, which provides free and low-cost treatment for qualifying patients.

Alliance to the Oklahoma Dental Association was awarded $5,000 for books and supplies for its Dental Education Program in Tulsa.

Children’s Oral Health Coalition was awarded $2,500 for its joint website project.

Oklahoma Mission of Mercy was awarded $100,000 for its free dental clinic being at the Chisholm Trail Expo Center in Enid Friday and Saturday.

Western Oklahoma Family Care Center in Elk City was awarded $10,000 for its Hope Dental Clinic, which provides free dental care to those in need.

Western Technology Center in Weatherford was awarded $4,000 for its dental hygiene program’s Give Kids a Smile project.

Good Shepherd Medical & Dental Foundation in Ardmore was awarded $25,000 for its free dental clinic.

Mercy Health Clinic of McAlester was awarded $7,000 for its free denture program.

Southern Oklahoma Technology Center was awarded $5,000 for its dental hygiene clinic, which provides low-cost and free dental hygiene services.

The OU College of Dentistry was awarded $60,000 to provide scholarships for dental students, $15,000 to underwrite OU COD Scientific Day, and $6,000 to support dental student research projects.

Friends,

Happy new year! This is the time of year when many Americans will be making charitable donations, and we’d like to share some exciting news. The Giving Library (www.GivingLibrary.org), an online video archive that connects donors to nonprofits, has created a $100,000 “Share to Give” campaign.

This is a way for you to support Neighborhood Services Organization without spending any money at all. All you have to do is share our Giving Library video on Facebook or Twitter, and the Giving Library will donate $5 to us. It’s that simple! Participants can share up to five organizations per month, and the Giving Library will donate up to $100,000 during the campaign. There are no gimmicks and no matching contributions.

Please take just a minute on to log on to the Giving Library and share our video. We thank you for your support and wish you a joyful new year!

How to Share: 

1.      Go to http://www.givinglibrary.org/organizations/neighborhood-service-organization

2.      Watch the NSO video, and click the “Share Now” button.

3.      Create an account if you don’t already have one.

4.      Click “Share on Facebook” or “Share on Twitter.”

5.      Share either the default message or a message of your choice.

6.      The organization will receive $5 per share.

7.      Individuals may share up to five organizations per month.

Thanks again, and let’s #Share2Give!

NSO awarded $100,000 grant for new dental clinic

OKLAHOMA CITY – Neighborhood Services Organization (NSO) is much closer to constructing a new dental clinic thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Delta Dental of Oklahoma Oral Health Foundation.

The new clinic will be five times larger than NSO’s current space and feature five exam rooms, a large waiting area, lab, sterile room, offices and a patient restroom.

“We’re so excited to partner with Delta Dental on our capital campaign,” said Stacey Ninness, NSO president and CEO. “They’ve been extremely supportive of our dental clinic in the past, and their support means we’ll be able to offer dental care to even more uninsured Oklahomans in the future.”

NSO’s capital campaign is to construct a new dental clinic and administrative services facility to replace its former home, a 96-year-old Methodist church at Southwest 11th St. and Walker Ave.

John Gladden, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Oklahoma and secretary/treasurer of its Oral Health Foundation said by offering reduced-fee services to low-income uninsured patients, NSO Dental Clinic significantly reduces the demand on the free dental clinics they support.

“The clinic is a vital part of the oral health care safety net and we encourage others to support their capital campaign with a year-end gift,” said Gladden. “We’re proud to partner with NSO to empower more Oklahomans to get the dental care they need.”

NSO’s dental clinic is one of the only reduced-cost dental clinics in the area that offers emergency appointments, digital x-rays and paperless charts. The part-time clinic sees approximately 2,000 patients and performs 6,000 procedures each year. Services are offered to patients as young as eight years old without regard for insured status or income.

To learn more about NSO’s dental clinic services or to schedule an appointment, call (405) 236-0413.

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Neighborhood Services Organization (NSO) is a faith-based organization serving the at-risk and homeless population by providing housing solutions and teaching skills to transform lives. NSO’s programs include:

  • Transitional housing for those who need help gaining independence,
  • Permanent supportive housing for homeless adults with a mental illness,
  • Rental assistance programs and
  • Reduced-cost dental care and women, infants and children (WIC) clinics for those in need.

NSO has a 93-year tradition of offering help to those who need it most. For more information about our programs, services or volunteer opportunities, call 405-236-0452 or visit www.nsookc.org.

Delta Dental of Oklahoma, a not-for-profit dental benefits company, supports dental health and education programs statewide through its Oral Health Foundation. For more information or to apply for grants, visit www.DDOKFoundation.org.