Funder: DentaQuest Foundation

December 18, 2014 | Webinar

While oral health care is included in Medicaid’s Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment benefit for children, less than half of the nation’s 30 million Medicaid-enrolled children receive any dental service in a given year. To address poor access to oral health care among low-income children, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services launched a national Oral Health Initiative in 2010, with two key goals:

  1. Increase in each state by 10 percentage points the proportion of children enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP who receive a preventive dental service over a five-year period ending in 2015; and
  2. Increase by 10 percentage points the proportion of children ages 6 to 9 enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP who receive a dental sealant on a permanent molar tooth (target date TBA).

Since March 2013, seven state Medicaid agency teams have been working toward the above goals with support from the Center for Health Care Strategies’ (CHCS) Medicaid Oral Health Learning Collaborative, funded by the DentaQuest FoundationTeams from Arizona, California, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Texas, Virginia, and Washington have been pursuing a wide range of strategies to achieve these goals.

During this 90-minute webinar, CHCS shared an overview of state strategies for improving oral health care access, as well as the quality improvement framework that helped guide state efforts. Representatives of the participating states described their progress and plans for building upon early successes for increasing oral health care access among children in Medicaid.


I. Welcome, Introduction, and Overview of the Medicaid OHLC

Speaker: Stacey Chazin, Senior Program Officer, CHCS

Stacey Chazin discussed the range of approaches pursued by the participating Medicaid agency teams to meet the two CMS goals; key challenges and successes observed; and factors important to their progress.

II. Update on the Children’s Oral Health Initiative

Speaker: Laurie Norris, Senior Policy Advisor, and Coordinator of the CMS National OHI

Laurie Norris provided an update on the overall initiative, state progress toward meeting the two CMS goals, and additional support that CMS will be offering states in pursuit of these goals.

III. Arizona’s Strategies for Increasing Oral Health Access for Children

Speaker: Jakenna Lebsock, Quality Improvement Manager, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System

Jakenna Lebsock shared how the Arizona team worked closely with its contracted health plans to increase fluoride varnish application and dental referrals by primary care providers; increase the number of beneficiaries who have selected a dentist; educate dental providers; and outreach to enrolled families.

IV. New Hampshire Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Pay-for-Prevention Project

Speaker: Nancy Martin, Oral Health Program Manager, New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services

Nancy Martin described New Hampshire’s oral health pay-for-prevention project, which the state successfully launched to improve the oral health of pregnant women, infants, and children via dental education and service delivery at WIC program sites.

Moderated Q&A– Stacey Chazin

V. Highlights of Other State Approaches to Meeting the CMS Goals


  • California: Eileen Espejo, Director, Media and Health Policy, Children Now; and Robert Isman, DDS, Dental Program Consultant, California Department of Health Care Services
  • Minnesota: Judith Gundersen, DDS, Dental Chief, Minnesota Department of Human Services
  • Virginia: Jacqueline Wake, Virginia Outreach Coordinator, DentaQuest/VA Smiles For Children

Representatives from three other OHLC state teams provided highlights of their strategic approaches and next steps in working toward the two CMS national oral health goals.

Moderated Q&A – Stacey Chazin