Hansen works to expand Healthy Kids Dental program

LANSING—Sen. Goeff Hansen said today that he is working to expand access to the Healthy Kids Dental program in Muskegon, Mason, Newaygo and Oceana counties as lawmakers are poised to complete work on the 2012 state budget.

Hansen said the expansion for the four-county area will cost just under $1.4 million in state funding, and he considers it a wise investment.  In addition to the state funds, federal Medicaid funds will support the program.

“This will improve access to dental care for low-income children in this region,” said Hansen, R-Hart.  “Expanding the program will encourage more dentists to participate and will help ensure that more quality care is available to those who need it most.”

Covered benefits include examinations and diagnostic, preventive, restorative and prosthodontic services.

“Tooth decay is the single most chronic childhood disease, five times more common than asthma,” Hansen said.  “Children who suffer pain from oral health diseases often have difficulty learning in school, eating and sleeping.  By investing early, we can make these children healthier and more productive members of our communities.”

To treat children enrolled in the program, dentists must participate in Delta Dental’s Healthy Kids Dental/MIChild program.  Beneficiaries must be seen by a Healthy Kids Dental/MIChild participating dentist.  Those enrolled in the program are eligible until age 21.

“Oral health is an essential part of overall health and primary care,” Hansen said.  “It’s time that we literally put our money where our mouth is.”