Blog Category - Center Maryland - Maryland’s leading source of aggregated and original news and opinion on government, politics, business and more. http://www.centermaryland.org/index.php?option=com_easyblog&view=categories&id=2&layout=listings&Itemid=178 Sun, 25 Feb 2018 16:33:34 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Maryland Dentists Serving Marylanders http://www.centermaryland.org/index.php?option=com_easyblog&view=entry&id=1676&Itemid=178 http://www.centermaryland.org/index.php?option=com_easyblog&view=entry&id=1676&Itemid=178 More than 175 years ago, Maryland established the world’s first school of dentistry. The rich history of dental medicine in our state has created the highest standard of oral care that carries into today. It’s why Maryland dentists are committed to maintaining the exceptional care that Marylanders have come to expect from their community dentist.

Maryland dentists are finding solutions that ensure every Marylander receives dental treatment by trained dentists. First and foremost, we are championing comprehensive adult dental Medicaid. Good oral health is imperative to overall body health, and Maryland is one of less than 20 states that doesn’t provide this benefit to its residents. We’ve seen the positive results after a renewed effort by the state legislature to increase funding for children’s dental Medicaid through the Healthy Smiles program. Nearly 69 percent of children who were enrolled in this program at some point over a 320-day period in the last reporting period saw a dentist. This ranks Maryland near the top in the country.

We would like nothing more than to see comprehensive adult dental Medicaid become a reality, just like the Healthy Smiles program. And, a study recently released by the Maryland Dental Action Coalition shows that it may not be as difficult as some may think.

This is especially true when you look at adult dental Medicaid alongside a program being piloted right here in Maryland. Several Maryland dentists created one of the most successful Emergency Department referral programs in the country. The program utilizes Community Dental Health Coordinators (CDHC), or Community Health Workers as they are often referred, to provide patients access to fully trained dentists who can detect problems that other providers are unable to see. The CDHC works with the local hospital emergency department to help ensure appropriate and cost-effective care for low-income patients visiting emergency rooms for tooth pain and helps coordinate a continuum of care for the patient to avoid future ER visits.

This way, we can treat the actual problem instead of simply managing the pain with medication, like opioids. And, with opioid abuse devouring whole communities, the more we can keep people out of a scenario where they could be prescribed more pain killers, the better. The work done in Western Maryland has reduced emergency department dental visits by a whopping 26 percent, saving millions of dollars.

As presidents of two major dental associations in Maryland representing dentists across the board, we’ve seen first-hand the good work of our member dentists and their commitment to all residents of this state.

It’s why we are greatly concerned about the legislation and the misinformation put forward by out-of-state special interest groups about the need for yet another mid-level provider, or advanced practice dental hygienist, in our state. These types of practitioners may be working in a state like Alaska where tribal nations often have little or no access to dentists. That clearly isn’t the case in Maryland. A two-tiered system of care where some of the most complex cases are handled by the least trained people is not what Marylanders want or deserve.

Maryland dentists are already finding solutions to provide the care that every Marylander deserves and expects in their dental care, instead of creating an entirely new tier of care. We’re betting on Marylanders to find the solutions to access and affordability. And, your community dentists are leading the effort.

Tami Dulan, DDS
President, Maryland Dental Society

Vanessa Benavent, DDS
President, Maryland State Dental Association

 

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info [AT] centermaryland [DOT] com (Center MD) Blog Wed, 21 Feb 2018 00:25:16 -0500
Maryland Dentists Serving Marylanders http://www.centermaryland.org/index.php?option=com_easyblog&view=entry&id=1675&Itemid=178 http://www.centermaryland.org/index.php?option=com_easyblog&view=entry&id=1675&Itemid=178 More than 175 years ago, Maryland established the world’s first school of dentistry. The rich history of dental medicine in our state has created the highest standard of oral care that carries into today. It’s why Maryland dentists are committed to maintaining the exceptional care that Marylanders have come to expect from their community dentist.

Maryland dentists are finding solutions that ensure every Marylander receives dental treatment by trained dentists. First and foremost, we are championing comprehensive adult dental Medicaid. Good oral health is imperative to overall body health, and Maryland is one of less than 20 states that doesn’t provide this benefit to its residents. We’ve seen the positive results after a renewed effort by the state legislature to increase funding for children’s dental Medicaid through the Healthy Smiles program. Nearly 69 percent of children who were enrolled in this program at some point over a 320-day period in the last reporting period saw a dentist. This ranks Maryland near the top in the country.

We would like nothing more than to see comprehensive adult dental Medicaid become a reality, just like the Healthy Smiles program. And, a study recently released by the Maryland Dental Action Coalition shows that it may not be as difficult as some may think.

This is especially true when you look at adult dental Medicaid alongside a program being piloted right here in Maryland. Several Maryland dentists created one of the most successful Emergency Department referral programs in the country. The program utilizes Community Dental Health Coordinators (CDHC), or Community Health Workers as they are often referred, to provide patients access to fully trained dentists who can detect problems that other providers are unable to see. The CDHC works with the local hospital emergency department to help ensure appropriate and cost-effective care for low-income patients visiting emergency rooms for tooth pain and helps coordinate a continuum of care for the patient to avoid future ER visits.

This way, we can treat the actual problem instead of simply managing the pain with medication, like opioids. And, with opioid abuse devouring whole communities, the more we can keep people out of a scenario where they could be prescribed more pain killers, the better. The work done in Western Maryland has reduced emergency department dental visits by a whopping 26 percent, saving millions of dollars.

As presidents of two major dental associations in Maryland representing dentists across the board, we’ve seen first-hand the good work of our member dentists and their commitment to all residents of this state.

It’s why we are greatly concerned about the legislation and the misinformation put forward by out-of-state special interest groups about the need for yet another mid-level provider, or advanced practice dental hygienist, in our state. These types of practitioners may be working in a state like Alaska where tribal nations often have little or no access to dentists. That clearly isn’t the case in Maryland. A two-tiered system of care where some of the most complex cases are handled by the least trained people is not what Marylanders want or deserve.

Maryland dentists are already finding solutions to provide the care that every Marylander deserves and expects in their dental care, instead of creating an entirely new tier of care. We’re betting on Marylanders to find the solutions to access and affordability. And, your community dentists are leading the effort.

Tami Dulan, DDS
President, Maryland Dental Society

Vanessa Benavent, DDS
President, Maryland State Dental Association

 

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info [AT] centermaryland [DOT] com (Center MD) Blog Wed, 21 Feb 2018 00:25:16 -0500
Dr. Vanessa Benavent: Adult Dental Medicaid Can Help Keep People Out of Emergency Rooms http://www.centermaryland.org/index.php?option=com_easyblog&view=entry&id=1674&Itemid=178 http://www.centermaryland.org/index.php?option=com_easyblog&view=entry&id=1674&Itemid=178 Legislation cleared by the Maryland General Assembly and signed into law last year required the dental community to study the costs associated with emergency department dental visits and the impact on the state’s Medicaid program.  The Maryland Dental Action Coalition contracted with DentaQuest, a well-known provider of dental analytics, to perform the study, and it was officially presented to the relevant committees in the Maryland General Assembly yesterday.     

None of us in the dental community knew what would come out of the report, but the end result is one of the clearest examples as to why Maryland needs adult dental Medicaid.  What’s refreshing about the study is that it shows how effective emergency department referral programs can make a big difference in the cost to taxpayers.  Many Marylanders treated in emergency rooms can better be taken care of by a dentist in their own office where not only can the pain be treated, but the actual problem can be taken care of.  

The good news is that several Maryland dentists are already showing results with innovative programs that work for Maryland residents.  A program in Western Maryland has shown exceptional results utilizing Community Health Workers and Community Dental Health Coordinators who work with patients and local hospitals to ensure the most appropriate and cost-effective treatment for a person experiencing oral pain. 

The Mountain Health Alliance was created to increase access to affordable, comprehensive, quality healthcare for residents.  Through that, the Allegany Health Right Dental Access Program has provided more than $2 million in dental care to low-income residents.  From 2013-2014, the Western Maryland Health System saw more than a 25 percent decrease in emergency department visits by patients seeking help with dental visits thanks to the Community Dental Health Coordinator who assisted residents in finding appropriate oral health care and educating local providers on the benefits of oral health screenings during primary care settings. 

This is the type of creative and resourceful solution that can work for all of Maryland. We’re looking forward to more progress in reinstating dental Medicaid benefits for adults and seeing healthy Marylanders across our state.

Dr. Vanessa Benavent owns an orofacial pain practice in Howard County and is president of the Maryland State Dental Association.  She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Dentistry and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Orofacial Pain and a Fellow in the American Academy of Orofacial Pain.  She is also a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry.

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info [AT] centermaryland [DOT] com (Center MD) Blog Thu, 25 Jan 2018 11:54:17 -0500
Gene M. Ransom III: Marylanders of All Ages Should Talk to Their Doctors About Getting Vaccinated http://www.centermaryland.org/index.php?option=com_easyblog&view=entry&id=1670&Itemid=178 http://www.centermaryland.org/index.php?option=com_easyblog&view=entry&id=1670&Itemid=178 As we enter fall, parents around Maryland have sent their children into the school year with everything they need to succeed, including their required school vaccinations. But immunizations aren’t just for our children – they are a lifelong, year-round medical necessity, and a critical public health tool for protecting against a broad range of dangerous and potentially deadly illnesses.

The practice of getting vaccinated should and does start at an early age. MedChi plays an official role in the review and release of the official Maryland Department of Health Child immunization schedule.  That schedule is approved and has been released on the Department of Health and MedChi web site.

The classroom environment makes Maryland students and their classmates susceptible to contracting and spreading a range of dangerous illnesses. In school communities, vaccines play an important role in creating “herd immunity” – when a high enough percentage of people are vaccinated so the entire community can be protected from disease, including those who aren’t medically able to be immunized.

In Maryland alone, thousands of kids go unvaccinated every year, putting themselves and their classmates at risk. Maryland knows firsthand the effects of children not having proper vaccinations: in 2015, the Anne Arundel health department had to notify residents of an increase in whooping cough in school-age children.

And it is not only young children who should be vaccinated at the start of the school year. As Maryland teenagers and young adults prepare to return to college – and as students from all over the country return to Maryland colleges and universities – parents should make sure their children have a conversation with their healthcare provider about how to be protected from diseases such as meningitis. Unfortunately, incidents of meningitis have become all too common on America’s college campuses, including locally. Maryland saw twenty cases of viral meningitis reported at the University of Maryland in the fall of 2014.

Meningitis, whether viral or bacterial, can spread quickly in close quarters, like college dorms. The bacterial form of the disease is particularly dangerous and although fast treatment has proven to save the lives of many individuals, the CDC estimates the fatality rate is between 10 and 15 percent. In addition, 19 percent of survivors suffer permanent complications, such as loss of limbs, injury to the nervous system, deafness, or brain damage.

Thankfully, there are now vaccines available to protect against all types of meningococcal disease that are most common in the United States. The best way to stop the spread of meningitis is by preventing it in the first place, which is why it is so important to make sure our college students are up-to-date with their vaccines.

Although often overlooked, vaccines are a critical part of prenatal care: before a baby even takes a breath they should be protected from disease. It is essential for pregnant women to get vaccinated to protect their babies from diseases such as whooping cough or the flu, which are particularly common among newborns and can be deadly.

Finally, there are a broad range of vaccine-preventable diseases that threaten adults. Pneumococcal disease, which can lead to serious illnesses like pneumonia, blood infection, or bacterial meningitis, causes approximately 22,000 deaths every year. Adults living with chronic conditions such as heart disease, liver disease, asthma and other lung disease, as well as adults making certain lifestyle choices, such as smoking, should be vaccinated against pneumococcal disease.

The back to school season is not only an opportunity to get our kids the shots they need to return to school – it is also an ideal time to help protect the entire community through vaccinations. I encourage you to have a conversation with your doctor about the most appropriate vaccine schedule for you and your family.

About MedChi
MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society, is a non-profit membership association of Maryland physicians.  Formed in 1799, it is still the largest physician organization in Maryland today.  The mission of MedChi is to serve as Maryland's foremost advocate and resource for physicians, their patients and the public health of Maryland.  For more information, please visit www.medchi.org.

Gene M. Ransom III, CEO MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society, Twitter @generansom, Email Gransom [AT] medchi [DOT] org 

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info [AT] centermaryland [DOT] com (Center MD) Blog Wed, 04 Oct 2017 00:23:36 -0400
Wendy Davis Interview Series: Episode 2 http://www.centermaryland.org/index.php?option=com_easyblog&view=entry&id=1664&Itemid=178 http://www.centermaryland.org/index.php?option=com_easyblog&view=entry&id=1664&Itemid=178

In this second of a two-part interview, Wendy Davis shares with KOFA Managing Partner Jamie Fontaine her thoughts on Betsy DeVos’ proposed dismantling of Title IX.

Wendy Davis is the former Texas State Senator and founder of the women’s advocacy initiative Deeds Not Words. She was propelled to national prominence in 2013 when she took to the Texas Senate floor for a 13-hour filibuster on an abortion restriction bill.

While addressing the cumulative effect of so much anti-woman policy and rhetoric at the federal level, she answers the question: Is the administration sending a message to women that our government isn’t on their side, or are there necessary adjustments that should be made to current policy? 

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info [AT] centermaryland [DOT] com (Center MD) Blog Sun, 24 Sep 2017 23:40:44 -0400