To the editor:
Recently, 133 Kansas dentists donated their services for the annual Kansas Mission of Mercy event sponsored by the Kansas Dental Charitable Foundation. Kansas dentists joined hygienists, dental assistants, pediatric dentists and other volunteers to provide free dental services to children and adults who cannot afford care. This year the event was held in Wichita, where over 1,650 patients were treated and donated services totaled $1.24 million.
Organizing the annual KMOM event is just one way the Kansas Dental Association is working to increase access to dental care in Kansas. Last year, the KDA championed a bill through the Kansas Legislature that expanded the services dental hygienists could provide, upon completion of more extensive training. Curriculum for the ECP III advanced dental hygienist program has been developed and training is set to begin at the UMKC School of Dentistry.
The KDA also partnered with the Delta Dental Foundation of Kansas on a new loan repayment program for dental students designed to attract graduates to key areas of Kansas identified as underserved. The Kansas Initiative for New Dentists Program selects students to receive a $25,000 scholarship in exchange for a commitment to serve in a rural Kansas community and treat KanCare Medicaid patients.
In 2011, the KDA launched the Medicaid 140 initiative. And now with the development of the state's KanCare program, more Kansas dentists are participating in the state' program for low-income Kansans than ever before.
The Kansas Dental Association is committed to providing Kansans with the quality of service they deserve and will continue to work to expand access.
For more information on Kansas Mission of Mercy events, visit www.ksdentalfoundation.org and for more information on the KIND program, visit www.KINDgrants.com.