ADHA Urges 'Low Income' Parents to Call '1-877-Kids-Now'

Feb 15, 2000, 00:00 ET from American Dental Hygienists' Association

    CHICAGO, Feb. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- For every child in America who does not
 have medical insurance there are 2.6 children who do not have dental
 insurance.  According to the National Health Interview Survey (1995),
 36 percent of U.S. children-about 27 million-have no dental coverage.
     Lisa B. Potter, RDH, president of the American Dental Hygienists'
 Association, says February is National Children's Dental Health Month, a great
 time to focus on the nation's "poorest" children who suffer from serious oral
 health diseases and to encourage "low-income" parents of uninsured children to
 call 1-877-Kids-Now for enrollment information.
     The Insure Kids Now national toll-free telephone number automatically
 routes calls based on the state from which the call is placed and directs it
 to that state's agency responsible for enrolling children in Medicaid and the
 State Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the largest outreach program
 aimed at the "working poor" since Medicaid.  CHIP's mission is to insure some
 20 million children throughout the United States.
     According to ADHA's Potter, National Children's Dental Health Month offers
 an excellent vehicle for reminding parents that the key to preventing tooth
 decay is straightforward:  "Brush after every meal or at least three times a
 day, floss daily and schedule regular visits to your oral health care
     CHIP allocates $24 billion in federal funds over its first five years to
 enable states to find, enroll and insure eligible children.  According to the
 Department of Health and Human Services, the states and U.S. territories
 estimate that they will enroll 2.6 million children by September 2000.  Almost
 two million children were enrolled, based on state-by-state reported data as
 of September 30, 1999.  This total is without the inclusion of data from
 Hawaii, Washington and Wyoming, which did not have their plans operational
 during the past fiscal year.
     According to Potter, "It is particularly gratifying to see the success of
 CHIP.  ADHA has supported the initiative since its inception, working with the
 Clinton administration and state legislatures to implement the program and to
 help promote the toll-free number to potential enrollees."
     Potter adds that although there still are barriers preventing Medicaid
 patients from receiving care, Insure Kids Now offers a beginning point for
 those children who are in dire need of oral care.
     ADHA is the largest national organization representing the professional
 interests of the more than 100,000 licensed dental hygienists across the
     Dental hygienists are preventive oral health professionals, licensed in
 dental hygiene, who provide educational, clinical and therapeutic services
 that support total health through the promotion of optimal oral health.
     For more information, visit the ADHA Web site at .

SOURCE American Dental Hygienists' Association