Open Wide - The Official Blog of The Chicago Dental Society

Permanent link  Illinois dramatically cuts adult dental services under Medicaid


On Thursday, the Illinois legislature passed a bill that will cut $1.6 billion--more than 10% of the total budget--from the state's Medicaid program. While some services, such as chiropractic and podiatric, were cut entirely, adult dental services did not fare much better. According to Illinois State Dental Society:

The adult program will now be an 'emergency only' program. Early indications are that it will only include a dental emergency examination, X-rays to diagnose the emergency condition, and extractions. The elimination of restorative services and dentures is projected to save $35.4 million dollars in the FY-2013 budget that begins on July 1, 2012.... [A]lso eliminated [is] the $1 million dental clinic grant program that ISDS developed as part of its Bridge to Healthy Smiles campaign.

The state is also cutting costs by reducing eligibility for Medicaid. Changing eligibility from 185% to 133% of the federal poverty level is expected to move hundreds of thousands of state residents out of the program. Those who remain, however, will still face cutbacks to service, including dental, vision and prescription coverage.

The public debate around Medicaid this spring has pitted advocates who accuse the state of "balancing the budget on the backs of the poor" (Sen. Mattie Hunter) against those who say without drastic measures the entire Medicaid program will collapse.

Among the dental community, Illinois State Dental Society, which aggressively lobbied against the cuts and prevented across-the-board cuts for adults and children, has pledged to work with Gov. Quinn and the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services to clarify what will be considered a dental emergency and how treatments authorized prior to July 1, 2012 but not yet performed will be handled once these changes go into effect. The children's dental program for Medicaid was not affected by this legislation.

View our previous blog coverage on this topic: 

Medicaid crisis in Illinois threatens access to dental care 

Help keep adult dental services in the Medicaid program 


Permanent link  New children's dental clinic opens in Lawndale


Lawndale Christian Health Center (LCHC) has opened a new Health and Fitness Center in the Lawndale neighborhood. Complementing the indoor track and fitness machines is a clinic, offering comprehensive care for women and medical and dental care for children.

The Health and Fitness Center is located at 3750 W. Ogden Avenue. Alongside the fitness opportunities at the 60,000-square-foot facility are a cafe with freshly prepared healthy food options and classroom space for group fitness classes. 

 “With the new Health and Fitness Center, LCHC has created a new standard for improving the health of an urban, low-income community,” Bruce Miller, CEO of LCHC, said in a prepared release. “This model combines access to great clinical care with the key prevention tools of exercise, fitness and wellness in an environment where community residents can affordably engage themselves to solve chronic health issues like obesity and diabetes.” 

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel participated in a ribbon cutting at the new facility, and praised the ways in which it will promote a higher quality of life for Chicagoans and increase the overall economic and social vitality of the community.

The $24 million center was partially funded through a New Markets Tax Credit Program, a federal program that encourages new development, job growth and retention, education and small business growth in the country’s most economically depressed areas. U.S. Bank committed more than $6 million of New Markets Tax Credit equity to this project. The federal government granted an additional $10 million of federal stimulus funds to support construction.

The Health and Fitness Center is expected to achieve LEED gold certification for its environmentally friendly features, including its green roof and energy-efficient lighting. The Health and Fitness Center will also create 100 new jobs, including those for healthcare providers, fitness staff and custodians.

Find more information online.


access to care , children , pediatric dentistry ,

Permanent link  CDS communications program earns kudos


Ambar Mentor and Keri Kramer at 2012 PCC luncheon

Earlier this month, we learned that our communications program to promote the Midwinter Meeting had won two awards. Publicity Club of Chicago, a local association of public relations professionals, recognized the society's efforts with a silver trumpet award in marketing.  

The award was presented at the club's annual luncheon on May 9 at the Palmer House Hilton, which I had the pleasure of attending with staff from our marketing and communications firm Carolyn Grisko & Associates.  Carolyn Grisko & Associates has worked with CDS for the past two years to promote the meeting. 

Hermes Creative Awards announced its annual award winners this month, and the society was delighted to receive a gold award in the category of special events.

If you run into a member of the society's Communications Committee--our committed team of volunteers who guide our communications strategy--make sure to congratulate them on a job well done! They are:

Silver Trumpet

Dr. Alice Boghosian
Dr. Kim Bolden
Dr. Trucia Drummond
Dr. Cissy Furusho
Dr. Mary Hayes
Dr. Mark Humenik
Dr. Paul Kattner
Dr. Phil Schefke
Dr. Ingrid Schroetter
Dr. Sam Weisz


Permanent link  CDS headquarters closed during NATO summit


The Chicago Dental Society headquarters office will be closed Monday, May 21, due to commuting and security concerns regarding the NATO summit in Chicago. The office will reopen at 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 22.


Permanent link  Help keep adult dental services in the Medicaid program


Did you receive an email from the Bridge to Healthy Smiles campaign today?  It reminded local voters that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and the State Legislature are conducting a review of all Medicaid services to find $2.7 billion in budget cuts. Adult dental services are on the chopping block for possible elimination due to their classification as “optional services” under federal reimbursement guidelines.

The Bridge to Healthy Smiles campaign urged voters to help the governor and their elected officials understand that elimination of the adult services is not the answer; it will instead shift the burden to emergency rooms that can not treat the underlying dental condition.

You can read the full message from the Bridge to Health Smiles campaign here.

If you agree and want to help, the Bridge to Healthy Smiles campaign encourages you to call Gov. Quinn and your legislators and explain why they must not cut the adult dental funding and what the impact will be on the underserved population. 

Governor Quinn’s office can be reached at 217.782.0244 during business hours.

The Illinois State Dental Society has provided on its website links to help you identify your elected representative, and an outline of talking points for when you call that person’s legislative office:

  • The adult dental program is a state-optional program and only accounts for about 20 percent ($51 million) of the entire dental appropriation in the FY-12 budget, which is projected to be $300 million. Since the federal government pays half of the Medicaid costs, the State of Illinois’ savings would only be $25.5 million.
  • If the adult dental program is eliminated, much or all of the savings in the dental appropriation would be offset due to increased State spending for those patients who present to hospital emergency rooms seeking pain relief.
  • In most cases, emergency rooms are only able to provide pain medication and antibiotics, which temporarily address the clinical concerns.
  • The Pew Center issued a report on February 28, 2012, that documented a 15.8 percent increase in emergency room visits from 2006-2009 in states that reduced or eliminated adult dental care programs.





access to care , dental benefits , dental news , legislation , medicaid , public health , state of illinois ,