Grant Project Title
Establishing Comprehensive Adult Dental through Community Engagement
Grantee Address

Oral Health Kansas, Inc.
712 S. Kansas Ave, Suite 412
Topeka, KS
United States

The mission of Oral Health Kansas is to improve oral health in Kansas through advocacy, public awareness and education. Oral Health Kansas is seeking $146,438 through the Strengthen Community Voice and State Advocacy subprogram of the Advancing Equity Fund to build upon prior years’ work to implement a comprehensive adult dental benefit in KanCare, the state’s Medicaid plan. In its current state, KanCare only covers emergency extractions for adults. Oral Health Kansas’ proposed work will build on successful advocacy for value-added oral health benefits to be included in KanCare dental contracts and the successful introduction of SB 227 in 2021. Oral Health Kansas also shares that its state Medicaid director has anecdotally provided support for an adult dental benefit. The organization asserts that there is a strong likelihood of approval of a benefit in the 2022 Legislative Session.

The first stages of the project will be to garner further legislative support prior to the 2022 Legislative Session, to connect with other local oral health advocacy and grassroots organizations, and to release a cost-benefit analysis report about the benefit in partnership with the American Dental Association Health Policy Institute. CareQuest Institute funding will complement this work by helping Oral Health Kansas develop a story bank of Medicaid consumer experiences around oral health, to be conducted by a Masters of Public Health student and used in communications and advocacy. CareQuest Institute funding will also be utilized to purchase emergency room usage data for dental pain from Kansas Hospital Association for use in collateral materials.

Once advocacy tools and campaign materials are developed, Oral Health Kansas will meet with partner organizations in the fall of 2021 to share tactics, bill language, and disseminate resources.

This fall, the state health department will also be opening up the negotiation process for KanCare MCO contracts. Oral Health Kansas will work to include preventative dental benefits in contract negotiation for the next five contract years.

Oral Health Kansas’ project will be guided by their new strategic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative, for which they are engaging a minority-owned Kansas-based consultant. The internal, year-long initiative will involve board and staff training, development of a DEI strategic plan, and technical assistance to form a “Lived Experience” advisory committee for the organization’s overall scope of work.

Oral Health Kansas’ proposed budget is allocated toward staff time, communications resources, and a lobbyist. This request amounts to approximately 17% of the overall organizational budget.

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