Kansas meets half of the eight policy benchmarks aimed at addressing children's dental health needs. In 2010, Kansas was one of two Midwestern states that failed to meet the national benchmark of providing 75 percent of its citizens with fluoridated water. In fact, as this year's report notes, Kansas lost ground in this benchmark, dropping from 65.1 percent to 44.7 percent.
Ninety-one Kansas counties no longer have enough dentists, and in 2008, 14 counties had no dentists at all.1 To address these persistent issues, Kansas advocates, supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, established a campaign to create a dental therapist program that will help more children receive care.2
The number of Medicaid-enrolled children receiving dental services has risen for several consecutive years, up from 22 percent in 2000 to 45.4 percent in 2009. Unfortunately, only 25 percent of Kansas dentists actively participated in Medicaid in 2008.3
By comparison, 89 percent of Kansas physicians participated in Medicaid in the same year.4
1. D. Ranney, “Slow Going in Efforts to Solve State's Dentist Shortage,” Kansas Health Institute News Service (August 30, 2010) http://www.khi.org/news/2010/aug/30/slow-going-efforts-solve-states-dentist-shortage/ (accessed March 15, 2011).
2. K. Reincke and D. Jordan, “W.K. Kellogg Foundation supports community-led efforts in five states to increase oral health care access by adding dental therapists to the new team,” W.K. Kellogg Foundation, November 17, 2010.
3. Kansas Health Policy Authority, “2008 Medicaid Transformation Program Review, Dental Services,” 19-21, http://www.khpa.ks.gov/medicaid_transformation/download/2008/Chapter%203%20-%20Dental%20Services.pdf (accessed March 15, 2011).
4. Kansas Health Policy Authority, “2009 Medicaid Transformation Program Review, Professional Services,” 1, http://www.khpa.ks.gov/program_improvements/downloads/Physician%20program%20review%2003%2001%202010.pdf (accessed March 15, 2011).