ADHA: Connecticut Lawmaker Recognized for Contributions to Oral Health Care

Sep 21, 2001, 01:00 ET from American Dental Hygienists' Association

    CHICAGO, Sept. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Dental Hygienists'
 Association (ADHA) recently announced Vickie Nardello, RDH, BSDH, MS, (CT-D)
 the winner of the 2001 Oral Health Service Award presented to a state or
 Congressional lawmaker who has made a lasting contribution to oral health
     Nardello is a four-term member of the Connecticut House of Representatives
 and a public health dental hygienist.
     Widely regarded as an expert on Connecticut's health care system, Nardello
 chairs the Public Health Subcommittee of the Medicaid Managed Care Council,
 which advises the
     Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS) on implementation of
 Medicaid programs.
     Nardello's background in dental hygiene made her a logical choice for the
 Public Health Subcommittee; and when a lawsuit was filed against DSS in 1999,
 Nardello's experience in dealing with the challenges of providing patient care
 in a public health setting was invaluable.
     In Carr v. Wilson-Coker, plaintiffs alleged that many low-income children
 who were eligible for basic dental services such as cleanings and sealants
 were not receiving care largely due to a lack of dentist participation in the
 Medicaid program.
     Dentists countered that Medicaid reimbursement rates for their services
 fell way short of market value, prompting many dentists to say no to the
     In order to reduce the burden of care on dentists, the Connecticut House
 led by Nardello created the Dental Advisory Council, which proposed allowing
 dental hygienists to provide basic preventive care in public health settings
 independent of dentists' supervision.
     This proved to be a huge success however, Nardello cautions that any
 long-term solution to the problem of accessing dental care will require a
 multi-pronged approach.
     "This will include increasing reimbursement fees for providers and better
 funding for Connecticut's community health projects," Nardello said.
     Her tireless work in the area of public health care and many other efforts
 made Nardello an easy selection for this year's Oral Health Service Award.
     ADHA is the largest national organization representing the professional
 interests of the more than 100,000 dental hygienists across the country.
     Dental hygienists are preventive oral health professionals, licensed in
 dental hygiene, who specialize in the prevention and treatment of oral
 diseases in order to protect total health.
     If you would like more information about dental hygiene, preventive oral
 health, or the connection between periodontal (gum) disease and
 life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, low-birthweight
 babies, or respiratory ailments, visit ADHA at .
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SOURCE American Dental Hygienists' Association