Granholm Expands Dental Services To 40,000 More Children

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

March 28, 2006

Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced that a 22-county expansion of the state’s Healthy Kids Dental program in the northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula will ensure that 40,000 additional low-income children receive dental services.

“We are expanding health care for thousands of children by providing them with access to quality dental services,” Granholm said in the joint announcement with Dental Dental and the Michigan Dental Association. “We are proud that we have been able to partner with dentists around the state to extend this critical coverage to more children.”

“The expansion of Healthy Kids Dental reflects the state’s commitment to improving the oral health of Medicaid-eligible children throughout Michigan,” said Dr. Thomas J. Fleszar, President and Chief Executive Officer of Delta Dental. “This dynamic public-private partnership demonstrates that by working together, we can provide needed care for thousands of children and, at the same time, help them establish good oral health habits that will last a lifetime.”

The partnership, which began through negotiations with Delta Dental and the Michigan Dental Association, does not require additional state funding. Dentists enrolled in Delta Dental have graciously agreed to accept the lower of two fee screens paid by Delta Dental, Granholm said.

“The 6,000 member Michigan Dental Association takes great pride in Michigan's expansion of this one-of-a-kind dental program, which serves as the best model in the entire nation,” said Kris Nicholoff, Assistant Executive Director of the Michigan Dental Association. “Governor Granholm clearly recognizes that oral health care is indeed primary care. We stand ready to continue our partnership to improve dental access in this great state."

Upper Peninsula counties included in the expansion are Baraga, Iron, Marquette, Menominee, Delta, Schoolcraft, and Mackinac. This expansion ensures that every county in the Upper Peninsula now has Healthy Kids Dental coverage.

Lower Peninsula counties included in the expansion are Presque Isle, Alpena, Montmorency, Ostego, Antrim, Leelanau, Benzie, Manistee, Kalkaska, Crawford, Oscoda, Alcona, Ogemaw, Missaukee, and Lake.

It is estimated that an additional 40,000 children will be eligible for dental services in the counties. In total, residents in 59 counties now have access to Healthy Kids Dental coverage. The expansion of the program will begin May 1.

In 2004, the American Dental Association named Michigan’s Healthy Kids Dental program one of five national models for improving access to dental care for low-income populations.