Grant Project Title
Implementation of Expanded Adult Dental Benefits in Kansas
Grantee Address

Oral Health Kansas, Inc.
PO Box 4567
Topeka, KS
United States

Oral Health Kansas’ (OHK) mission is to improve oral health in Kansas through advocacy, public awareness and education. Oral Health Kansas has been a funded partner of CareQuest Institute since 2011, with work in recent years focusing on adding a comprehensive adult dental benefit to Medicaid. With the support of CareQuest Institute funding last year, Oral Health Kansas and their partners celebrated success in their efforts to extend Medicaid dental benefits from emergency-only toward comprehensive, with new benefits to begin on July 1, 2022.

Oral Health Kansas is seeking funding in 2022 to assist the state in implementing the recently approved benefit and ensuring that consumer and community voices are elevated throughout the initial implementation process. The first phase of this work has been to collect input and information from partner organizations about the services that would be most important to include in the extended adult dental benefit. These organizations include representation from dental providers, Kansans with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), older adults living in the community and in long-term care settings, low-income family advocates, and safety net clinics.

With the benefit period beginning on July 1, 2022, Oral Health Kansas will conduct a public communications campaign around the new oral health benefit. Oral Health Kansas will develop and deploy resources for both consumers and providers to walk them through what the benefit includes and how to utilize it. The campaign materials will include a short video and a handout available in multiple languages, as well as a webinar directed toward providers. The content and dissemination plan for each product will be developed with Oral Health Kansas’ newly developing Lived Experience Advisory Group, which will include representation from people of different races, genders, sexualities, geographies, income levels, and other dimensions of diversity. Oral Health Kansas plans to share information with community health workers and other trusted community messengers.

The final component of the project will be to evaluate implementation and reassess benefits. OHK is dedicated to ensuring the success of this dental benefit, and their primary outcome is to see adult dental utilization increase. In spring 2023, OHK will begin to evaluate the dental benefit using utilization data and assess the size of the provider network. OHK will work with the appropriate stakeholders to examine this data and determine any changes needed to increase the success of the new benefit. OHK will present the data and any proposed changes to the 2023 Kansas Legislature.

Underlying all the proposed activities is a renewed organizational energy around bolstering their commitment to health equity. As a result of a DEI initiative OHK engaged in over the last year, the organization is developing a Lived Experience Advisory Group, as mentioned earlier. This group will consist of members who have been directly impacted by oral health disparities, including inadequate access to quality dental care. Their intent in creating this group is to drive the strategies to address access to dental care, as well as to ensure all strategies incorporate a health equity/racial equity lens. The group will be fully formed and active by early 2023.

The total budget request is $156,147, with $107,000 of the budget supporting staff time to carry out the project. Additional line items include marketing and communication costs, travel to stakeholder meetings and conferences, and media and website consultant costs.

The total organizational budget for OHK is $524,000, which means this grant represents about 30% of the total budget.

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