I’ve been making a list (and checking it twice!) of all the good that happened in 2018 to improve health for Virginians! Between expanding Medicaid eligibility to enable 400,000 low-income Virginians to access coverage to the largest Virginia Oral Health Summit yet, 2018 was a big year.
As all of us begin to think about how we can build on the great progress we’ve made, please join me in taking a moment to celebrate three successes that are particularly exciting to me.
- Medicaid Expansion -
Without a doubt, expanding Medicaid to cover nearly 400,000 more Virginians was an incredible, hard fought success in 2018. I know the road to expansion seemed long (and often fraught), but as I write this over 200,000 Virginians have already signed up to begin coverage on January 1, and our partners are hard at work on signing up more.While expansion doesn’t include dental coverage for adults, many of the plans providing medical coverage in Medicaid are offering their own enhanced dental benefits (ranging from prevention only, to comprehensive depending on the plan). You can access learn more about the enhanced dental benefits being offered in our Provider FAQs for Medallion and CCC+
- Fluoridated Drinking Water-
Water fluoridation is one of the single most important public health achievements of the 20th century, and despite years of science and good health outcomes to back up its importance, several Virginia communities were at risk of losing fluoridated water this past year because of well-organized misinformation campaigns. At the end of the day, public health won, and water fluoridation remained.To make sure community stakeholders have the tools they need to respond quickly when water fluoridation is threatened, the Coalition in partnership with the Virginia Dental Association and the Virginia Department of Health are creating a community water fluoridation rapid response team. Learn more about the benefits of community water fluoridation and join our rapid response team.
- Health Equity to Improve Health -
Science and common sense tell us over and over that systemic racism and unconscious bias lead to poor health outcomes. This year brought us opportunities to talk about this issue candidly with partners to lay a better foundation for program, outreach and advocacy design to change the health system as a whole so that it better meets the needs of everyone.Of note, Dr. Camara Jones was one of the keynote presenters at the Virginia Oral Health Summit. She shared analogies, stories and data to aid all of us in not just recognizing the importance of health equity, but to use the recognition to meet the needs of those we serve. You can check out her remarks (and all the presentations from the summit) on our website.
At the Coalition we’re dedicated to building on our successes in 2018 to work towards comprehensive health care that includes oral health for all Virginians. We can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store!