Proos: Healthy Kids Dental program coming to Berrien and Cass counties

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LANSING?Under the budget for the Department of Community Health (DCH) recently sent to the governor to be signed, all Medicaid-eligible children in Southwest Michigan will have access to dental care, said Sen. John Proos.

“Bringing the successful Healthy Kids Dental program to Berrien and Cass counties is an important step to help improve the health of thousands of Southwest Michigan children and also reduce Medicaid costs,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “I supported the extension of this smart, cost-effective program because of its proven results. By helping address dental problems early on, it has resulted in better overall health for children in the program while also saving taxpayers millions of dollars in long-term costs.”

The DCH budget includes $16.7 million to expand the Healthy Kids Dental (HKD) program, with a priority on Michigan’s rural counties. Berrien and Cass counties are among the 10 counties that are supposed to receive funding next year for the program. Van Buren County already receives funding.

Dr. Fred Johansen, Berrien County Health Department medical director, strongly urged the expansion of the program: “The Healthy Kids Dental program has been shown to expand access to children who otherwise would not receive needed dental services. It has proven to be very effective and has also increased the number of dentists providing services to high-risk children.”

The program is a private-public partnership between the DCH and Delta Dental and provides dental benefits to Medicaid-eligible residents under the age of 21.

The Healthy Kids Dental program covers services such as X-rays, cleanings, fillings, root canals, tooth extractions and dentures. Beneficiaries receive treatment from dentists who participate with Delta Dental’s HKD program, which includes approximately 75 percent of Michigan dentists.

To find a participating dentist, residents may use Dental Dental’s HKD dentist directory.

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Editor’s Note – Audio comments by Sen. Proos are available on the senator’s webpage at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Podcasts.”

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