Hello Idaho Oral Health Alliance members and oral health champions! With active support of members, sponsors, and partners, the IOHA serves as the catalyst for joint discussions and actions that lead us toward our vision of optimal oral health for Idahoans.
The IOHA mission is to: Lead collaborative efforts to bring optimal oral health to Idahoans through education, advocacy, and program development.
Changes at the Idaho Oral Health Program
The Idaho Oral Health Program (IOHP) within the Division of Public Health in the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has announced the hiring of Misty Robertson, RDH-EA, CDHC, as the new program manager. Misty has a wealth of experience from both private practice and dental public health, and has been employed by the IOHP since late 2018. As the leader of this program, she will oversee state oral health programming and CDC and HRSA grants, work with public health districts, and she will assume the role of Board Liaison between the IOHP and the IOHA.
She replaces Angie Bailey, RDH-EA, MSDH, who is the new program manager for the Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Stroke Prevention Program within the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare, Division of Public Health. Angie is poignantly aware of the connections between her new program components and oral health and is committed to finding new ways for collaboration. Angie most recently served the IOHA in the capacity of Board Liaison. She served on the IOHA board for six years and spent two as board chair.
The IOHA salutes Angie for the tremendous advancements she made in seeking optimal oral health for Idahoans, we welcome Misty, and we look forward to new and exciting collaborations with both programs. Misty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and Angie can be reached at email@example.com
The IOHA also extends a sincere thank you to Elise Winbrock, MPH, who worked for the IOHP for the last two years as a Health Program Specialist and managed the Idaho Oral Health Network. Elise has moved on from IDHW. The IOHP will soon be hiring two Health Program Specialists. To see the job announcements, visit https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/careers/tabid/2723/default.aspx
IOHA Supportive of Medicare Oral Health Coverage
As efforts to include oral health in Medicare coverage gain momentum on the national stage, the IOHA is supportive of this cause. Families USA released a set of factsheets, Medicare Oral Health Coverage for (Your State). The state-by-state factsheets highlight how seniors and people with disabilities would be better able to achieve oral health if Medicare were to include such coverage. The IOHA has sent this fact sheet to our Delegation in the hope that we can bring attention to the disparities in Idaho.
In addition to this national rally cry for Medicare Oral Health Coverage, several bills have been introduced in Washington, D.C. The Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD) has compiled a list:
- Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and the Senate Special Committee on Aging introduced the Medicare and Medicaid Dental, Vision, and Hearing Benefit Act of 2019, S.1423.
- S. 22 Medicare Dental Benefit Act of 2019 (Sen. Cardin, D-MD)
- H.R. 2951 Medicare Dental Benefit Act of 2019 (Rep. Barragan, D-CA—companion bill to S.22)
- H.R.576 Seniors Have Eyes, Ears, and Teeth Act (Rep. Roybal-Allard, D-CA)
- H.R.1393 Medicare Dental, Vision, and Hearing Benefit Act of 2019 (Rep. Doggett, D-TX)
- S.1423 Medicare and Medicaid Dental, Vision, and Hearing Benefit Act of 2019 (Sen. Casey, D-PA)
Current IOHA projects and initiatives
Our work on oral health integration continues as we seek funding sources and collaborative partners for our Referral Network Pilot Phase and our Awareness/Education campaign. We are excited to work with the Idaho Primary Care Association’s new Quality Improvement Specialist, Sarah Ridinger, MHA, who is focused on oral health. We continue as advisory committee members both for the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation Practice and Financial Redesign initiative and the jointly-led Dental Navigation for Patients in Emergency Room discussion group led by Saint Alphonsus and St. Luke’s.
We will participate on IOHP committees that will address teledentistry, silver diamine fluoride, and community water fluoridation, and we will spearhead the revival of our Healthy Me is Cavity-Free (HMCF) initiative that addresses the issue of caries for children ages 0-5. If you have interest in serving on the HMCF committee, please contact Jennifer Wheeler, firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition to the oral health integration and HMCF initiatives, later this fall, the IOHA board members will embark on the groundwork necessary to lead the creation of the next Idaho Oral Health Action Plan.
Ways for you to get involved
- Join the IOHA by visiting http://www.idahooralhealth.org/membership and either download the application and send a check, or pay online. Anyone can join at any time of year, but you must be a current member on Oct. 31 in order to vote in annual board member elections.
- Consider committee or board service. Complete and return the interest form at http://www.idahooralhealth.org/board-staff
- Do you shop at Fred Meyer? Designate the IOHA as your Community Rewards recipient. Visit https://www.fredmeyer.com/topic/community-rewards-4 and search for the Idaho Oral Health Alliance or select XB262 for our organization. You’ll support the IOHA with every purchase!
Save the Date – make sure you’re a current member
Annual Board Member Election ballots will be emailed in November, so you must be a current dues-payer on Oct. 31, 2019. Not sure if you’re a 2019 member? Email Jennifer at email@example.com. Need to register? Visit http://www.idahooralhealth.org/membership to sign up today. The Annual Member Celebration will be held after work on December 3, 2019, at Telaya Wine Co.
Our thanks to our Sustaining Partners, Delta Dental of Idaho and MCNA (Managed Care North America) and our continuing In-Kind Partner, Eide Bailly. These three stellar organizations continue to support our efforts in seeking optimal oral health for Idahoans.