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Focusing on Oral Health in Yolo County

October 27, 2017

 

Friends,

 

On October 24th the Board received a presentation on the first ever 2017-2020 Yolo County Oral Health Strategic Plan to address these unmet oral health needs in Yolo County. Thanks to the passage of Proposition 56: Tobacco Tax Increase, Yolo County will receive ~$200,000 to implement this oral health plan, as well as provide funding support for reimbursing dental providers in serving Denti-Cal patients. Yolo County will receive $200,000 a year to implement the oral health strategies for 5 years.

 

Currently, about 25% of Yolo County residents are enrolled in Medi-Cal and receive Denti-Cal benefits. However due to low reimbursement rates, many dental providers do not accept patients with Denti-Cal insurance. Of those with Denti-Cal benefits, only 34% of Yolo County children aged 3-5 utilized these services.  This is lower than the California average of 49% for the same population.

 

Data indicates that Yolo County residents are utilizing the hospital emergency room at higher rates for dental problems than in previous years. Those who have Denti-Cal benefits and need to see a specialist for periodontics, endodontic or oral surgery are often sent out of County for services as there are virtually no specialists in Yolo County who accept Denti-Cal. Bottom line –dental care is very inaccessible for our low-income residents.

 

The Yolo County Oral Health Strategic Plan identifies four priority areas which include:

 

  1. Raise community awareness about oral health

  2. Increase screening and prevention services for children

  3. Facilitate local policies to promote oral health

  4. Promote expanded dental access for low-income children/adults.

 

This work is vital and is a positive move for our county, but we must do more to prevent dental disease in our children and to promote good oral health care habits in Yolo County. We must work at the legislative level to advocate for more funding for Denti-Cal subsidies so that more providers can offer oral health services to the people of Yolo County. Yolo County’s oral health strategic plan builds awareness that will lead to local initiatives to improve oral health in Yolo County.

 

As always, please email me at don.saylor@yolocounty.org to share your thoughts on this topic or any other matter.

 

In shared service,

 

Don

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