Mich. expands Healthy Kids Dental program

Following up on a pledge made last winter, Michigan officials and dental organizations joined together last month to celebrate the expansion of the state's Healthy Kids Dental (HKD) program.

Gov. Rick Snyder, state public health officials, Delta Dental executives, Michigan Dental Association representatives, dentists, and school officials celebrated the expansion of the HKD program to nearly 63,300 children in Macomb County.

In May 2000, the Michigan Department of Community Health, in partnership with Delta Dental of Michigan and with support from the Michigan Dental Association, initiated the HKD program to help improve the dental health of those in greatest need.

The program provides access to dental care to Medicaid-eligible children across the state. With the addition of Macomb and Kalamazoo counties, the program is now available to more than 555,000 children in 80 of Michigan's 83 counties. The two counties were added to HKD in the 2015 state budget proposed by Snyder and passed by the Michigan Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support.

In a press release, Snyder praised the expansion of the program.

"Expanding the Healthy Kids Dental program has been a priority of mine, and I'm pleased that children in Macomb and Kalamazoo counties can now use this outstanding program," Snyder said. "This expansion is another step toward our goal of ensuring all Michigan children have access to oral healthcare."

Studies have indicated that children with HKD coverage are more likely to receive dental treatment than those with traditional Medicaid dental coverage, according to Delta Dental of Michigan. Dental visits are 50% higher for children who are enrolled in HKD. Some factors contributing to this trend include more dentists accepting the program than regular Medicaid and a larger network that makes scheduling appointments easier and closer to home. HKD covers dental services such as x-rays, teeth cleanings, cavity fillings, root canals, tooth extractions, and dentures.

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