The Public Health Dental Hygienist Program, launched in 2011 through a grant from UMass Medical School to allow hygienists who meet certain standards to operate independently, was featured in Monday, Jan. 28, edition of the Boston Globe.
Brent Martin, DDS, MBA, dental director for MassHealth, the Medicaid agency for Massachusetts, said the goal is to increase access to basic dental care, particularly among residents at highest risk of dental diseases, such as low-income children, seniors and the developmentally disabled. About 200,000 children each year don’t see a dentist, despite being covered by MassHealth for such services, Dr. Martin said.
Public health hygienists are helping to improve those numbers by working in schools, WIC offices and other places that provide services to low-income children. Carol Gilmore, one of the first licensed public health hygienists under the new program, received a grant from UMMS to help her and her business partner Liz Chouinard buy mobile equipment and start servicing children.
“We’re getting kids treated that otherwise wouldn’t have prevention done,” Martin told the Globe.
Read the full story: Program brings dental care to children without dentists
Related link on UMassMedNow: Dental hygienist program expands access to preventive dental care