Partnership with Delta Dental of Michigan to Increase Access to Dental Services for Children in Kent County

A $75,000 partnership grant between Delta Dental Insurance, Health Net of West Michigan, and the Kent County Oral Health Coalition will work to increase awareness and access to dental services for individuals with Healthy Kids Dental coverage. The efforts in this partnership aim to help increase utilization rates and ensure that Kent County youth receive the dental care they need to lead healthy lives.

Health Net and the Kent County Oral Health Coalition are approaching the partnership in a two-pronged way. Health Net’s client services team will assist families to understand their coverage and connect them with a dental provider. The Kent County Oral Health Coalition will lead an awareness campaign through existing partnerships in the community to increase awareness of Healthy Kids Dental benefits.

“Good oral health leads to happier, healthier lives,” said Colette Smiley, D.D.S, Dental Director of Health Net of West Michigan and Co-Chair of KCOHC. “Increasing access and awareness to Healthy Kids Dental will produce healthier children more likely to succeed in school and life.”

All individuals up to 21 years old who have Medicaid benefits are automatically enrolled in Healthy Kids Dental coverage. The utilization rate of the coverage in Kent County is at 44.75%, based on data pulled from October 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016; the goal of this partnership is to increase that percentage significantly.

“As one of the primary providers of Healthy Kids Dental coverage in Michigan, we welcome discussions about ways to address the gaps in care as it relates to oral health,” said Dr. Erik Stier, Director of Quality Improvement, Utilization and Population Health Management. “Through partnerships with community-based organizations like Health Net of West Michigan and the Kent County Oral Health Coalition, Delta Dental of Michigan is engaging with subject matter experts around the State to raise awareness about the importance of oral health as it relates to the quality of life for patients, families and communities. We act in collaboration with our partners to encourage the establishment of dental homes and to encourage life-long healthy habits, including the appropriate use of the benefits available through the Healthy Kids Dental program.”

Pictured left to right (front row): Stacey Murphy, Dr. Thomas McLellan Dr. Colette Smiley, Christina Pavlak, Maryam Yahya (Back row) Dr. Erik Stier, Maureen Kirkwood, Dennise Hodge

Photo credit: Vanessa Jimenez