About Us

Access to dental care is limited or nonexistent for millions of Michigan residents. Seniors, pregnant women, low-income children, and other special populations are most at-risk for poor oral health. Oral health needs are more severe in certain parts of the state: there is a maldistribution of dentists across the state leaving large portions of rural and urban areas with dental shortages. 

 

Many people cannot receive dental care because they are uninsured or dentists do not accept public insurance. When people cannot get regular, routine dental care, they often resort to emergency rooms for relief of serious, complicated oral health conditions. This costs Michigan taxpayers money and often doesn’t alleviate patients’ underlying medical problems.

 

The Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health (MCMCH) is working to improve oral health and access to dental care in Michigan. Throughout 2015 MCMCH engaged a variety of stakeholders on potential policy solutions to Michigan's access challenges. While much was heard about reimbursement needs, the primary policy change mentioned was the need to explore additional workforce models. In October 2016 a delegation of dentists, hygienists, state agency staff and key stakeholders from Michigan visited Minnesota to learn more about the dental therapist model currently authorized there.
 
As a result of the trip and discussions to date, Senate 541 was introduced in September 2017 to create a midlevel provider. This common-sense legislation will allow dentists to hire dental therapists to provide routine care – like filling cavities – under their supervision. These providers, similar to physician assistants on medical teams, give dentists the flexibility to modernize and expand their practices in a financially sustainable way, while also treating more patients who otherwise would not have access to dental care.

 

Three states have authorized these providers and at least a dozen other states are considering legislation to expand their dental teams. Michigan has the opportunity to be a national leader in addressing its oral health needs through this innovative, cost-saving solution.

 

Supporters

AARP Michigan

The Arc Michigan

LeadingAge

Michigan Association of Health Plans

Michigan Association of School Nurses

Michigan Association of United Ways

Michigan’s Children

Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness

Michigan Community Action

Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health

Michigan Dental Hygienists’ Association

Michigan Disability Rights Coalition

Michigan League for Public Policy

Michigan Primary Care Association

National Association of Social Workers-Michigan

School-Community Health Alliance of Michigan

Wolverine Dental Hygienists’ Society

Wolverine Human Services

 

Lynda Gregorini, RDH

Anne Gwozdek, RDH, BA, MA

Jane Halaris RDH, BS, MA

James K. Haveman Jr.

Mailan Hudson, RDH

Annette Jackson, RDH, BS, MCTEc

Lorene Kline, RDH, BSDH

Samantha Mishler

RoseAnn Schihl, RDH, BS

 

 

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