Wisconsin Expands Oral Health Care For Residents

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Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced today that $3.2 million in grants is available to increase access to oral health services for BadgerCare Plus members. Grant proposals must be submitted to the Department before 3:00 p.m. on Friday, October 24. The funding is available to public and private organizations including schools, local health departments, community health centers, health clinics, health care associations, faith-based organizations, and private providers.

“Access to preventive and restorative oral health care is a problem for Wisconsin residents and we feel these grants are the most effective way to increase access to this care,” said Secretary Karen Timberlake. “I strongly encourage any public or private organization that can help us improve access to oral health care for Wisconsin residents to submit a proposal.”

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Organizations will be able to use the grant funding to build capacity; sustain services; employ or contract with providers of preventive and restorative dental services; subsidize services to underserved populations; train and mentor providers; and for service learning programs. The funding must be used to improve access to oral health care for BadgerCare Plus members. Other targeted populations may also be served.

In 2007, the Department issued a Request for Information to solicit creative strategies aimed at dramatically improving access to comprehensive dental care for participants in family Medicaid programs, now known as BadgerCare Plus. The Department received 19 responses and used that information to develop this Request for Proposals.

In addition to the $3.2 million, on August 1, 2008, the Department of Health Services received a $300,000 grant, renewable for up to five years, from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The funding will be used for infrastructure and state planning purposes and to improve basic state oral health services. This includes monitoring oral disease risk factors and developing and evaluating disease prevention programs such as community water fluoridation and school-based sealant programs.

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