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Innovative partnership to provide children with medical, dental health care home

From: Kentucky.gov
By: Kerri Richardson & Terry Sebastian

Innovative partnership to provide children with medical, dental health care home

Louisville, KY – Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen announced Dec. 1 an innovative public/private partnership between Community Dental – a nonprofit of Kentucky and the University of Louisville Pediatrics to provide a multi-disciplinary health care home for Kentucky children enrolled in the Medicaid program. KentGovPressRelease

Through co-located facilities, the two organizations will work to meet both the dental and medical needs while providing a health care home for children who qualify for health care services through the Medicaid program.

“Our citizens face a number of significant health issues, not the least of which is oral health,” Gov. Beshear said. “One of the most effective ways to combat chronic health conditions is to identify potential problems early and address them. This means ensuring that our children have easy access to the health care they need and deserve. This partnership seeks to meet that need, not just medical care, but also dental care. Through the creation of a health home for children, we believe we will be able to reverse some of the major health problems facing Kentucky.”

Community Dental of Kentucky is a full-service dental organization designed to increase access to health care in underserved communities with the goal of improving the overall health of the population. The clinic specializes in meeting the oral health needs of individuals who are enrolled in Medicaid, a population that has historically lacked sufficient access to dental services. Community Dental’s Kentucky clinic is located at 3438 Taylor Blvd. in Louisville. Community Dental is patterned after Sarrell Dental, which was founded in 2004 in Anniston, Alabama. Since then, Sarrell has grown to include 13 other offices in Alabama. The Sarrell Dental Team consists of more than 250 employees, including dentists, hygienists and managers.

“We are honored to partner with the Commonwealth and the University of Louisville,” said Jeffrey Parker, chairman of Community Dental of Kentucky. “Gov. Beshear has created the environment for preventive care as a major tool for combating the health care problems faced by the people in the state.”

Earlier this year, Gov. Beshear launched kyhealthnow, an initiative aimed at attacking the causes of many of the significant health care issues faced by the people of the Commonwealth, such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and oral health.

“Part of the mission of kyhealthnow is to encourage Kentuckians to routinely visit primary care providers and dental professionals to detect potential issues before they escalate into major health problems,” Lt. Gov. Luallen said. “As chair of this initiative, I want to continue to help the Governor build strong partnerships with the dental and medical community to ensure Kentucky has a healthier population.”

“We continue to uncover the links between dental and medical health,” said David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., UofL executive vice president for health affairs. “Co-locating primary care sites for both dentistry and pediatrics enables the inter-professional collaboration that can truly impact the disease state of many people. This partnership has the potential to be a national model for providing preventive care to children.”

UofL Pediatrics provides general pediatric care to children throughout the region. The physicians are faculty members of the UofL Department of Pediatrics and not only see patients, but also educate the next generation of pediatricians and conduct research that leads to new and improved treatments for children.

“One of our missions is to provide children of our region with the best possible health care,” said Gerard Rabalais, M.D., chair of the UofL Department of Pediatrics. “Partnering with other primary care providers who specialize in areas outside of medicine only brings children a better opportunity for healthier living opportunities. Establishing health care homes where children receive medical and dental care in a single location provides a level of convenience that should improve access and utilization of services.”

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