If this message is not displaying correctly, click here to launch in your browser.
  WDA Healthy Choices E-Lert  
June 2011 | Legislative E-Newsletter

Issue Spotlight:
JFC votes to fund nonprofit dental clinics

The Joint Committee on Finance recently voted to provide $1.7 million over the biennium to support nonprofit dental clinics that are not Federally Qualified Health Centers. The committee's actions represent a major investment by the Legislature not seen in years for clinics that serve low-income adults and children - benefiting citizens and communities throughout Wisconsin.

With support from the WDA, nonprofit clinics like Tri-County Community Dental Clinic in Appleton help area families meet their oral health needs.

Although it was requested that this funding come from existing dental earmarks, the WDA appreciates the Legislature's willingness to prioritize funding for these dental care services. We urge Gov. Scott Walker to support and maintain this funding for nonprofit, non-FQHC dental clinics.

The original WDA proposal would have been achieved by reallocating existing dental funds from those FQHCs that receive exclusive state government earmarks plus special Medicaid reimbursement rates that are twice what nonprofit clinics and any private dental office receive.

Note that to qualify as an FQHC, an entity must provide medical, mental and dental health care services. Stand-alone, nonprofit dental clinics serving needy adults and children cannot qualify to become FQHCs and therefore, cannot access special government subsidies and higher Medicaid reimbursement rates that cover the actual costs of providing care.


Another 'C' for Badger State in children's dental health report:
'Healthy Choices' can help improve care for kids

The Pew Center on the States recently gave the state of Wisconsin its second "C" in two years in the Center's annual report card on dental health policies for children. Among other things, the report found the Badger State still fails to provide adequate access to dental care for children in its MA system.

Dr. Jeremy Hoffman of Wausau (right)
cares for a young patient.

The report supports what Wisconsin's dentists have been saying for years – that the state has plenty of room for improvement when it comes to increasing access to dental care for its needy youngsters. This latest third-party review should serve as another wake-up call that the oral and overall health of our state's children is at risk.

WDA and its 3,000 member dentists have long recognized this problem and have some basic "Healthy Choices" proposals to help eliminate barriers to oral health care for our state's most vulnerable residents. Wisconsin should be leading the nation; another "C" grade is unacceptable. The fact that just three in 10 MA-enrolled children in Wisconsin accessed dental care during the study year demonstrates the urgency of the need to improve public education about oral health and reduce barriers to comprehensive care.

The WDA is working with legislators, Gov. Walker, the Department of Health Services and other health advocates to make oral health a priority and Wisconsin a terrific - and healthy - place to be a kid.


Legislator Q&A:
What should the state's role be in providing financial support for dental education in Wisconsin?

Sen. Alberta Darling
State Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills
"I fully support Gov. Walker's proposal to provide $8 million in state support to help the Marquette University School of Dentistry finance expansion. This project will enable Marquette to recruit and retain quality dental faculty, expand the school's research capacity and increase the number of students who experience a variety of practice settings through Marquette's mission to help students become exposed to treating those patients most in need. This state commitment to an accredited dental school is essential in making sure our state has a healthy supply of quality dentists to serve all Wisconsin residents well into the future."
Rep. Leon Young   State Rep. Leon Young, D-Milwaukee
"Wisconsin faces a myriad of difficult (as well as daunting) funding decisions, in light of the projected $3.2 billion budget shortfall. However, the state must not abdicate its crucial role in providing financial support for dental education. The importance of Marquette University School of Dentistry being designated to receive $8 million in state support to facilitate the expansion of its clinical practices and research programs cannot be overstated. It's a commitment we can ill-afford to renege on."


High public-approval rating for Wisconsin's dentists

Our state's dentists have a deep commitment to caring for patients and a strong, positive reputation among the citizens of Wisconsin. An overwhelming 91 percent of respondents in the spring 2011 Wisconsin State Survey by the St. Norbert College Strategic Research Institute reported favorable opinions of the state's doctors of oral health. Wisconsin dentists take this trust very seriously and work hard to provide the best care possible for everyone who needs it.


Please join us in Wausau June 24 and 25 for Mission of Mercy

All state leaders and staff are cordially invited to visit the third annual WDA Foundation and WDA Mission of Mercy (MOM) being held Friday, June 24 and Saturday, June 25 at the Greenheck Field House in Weston (approximately 5.5 miles southeast of Wausau). Over the course of two days, a projected 2,000 low-income children and adults will receive an estimated $1 million in free dental care from more than 950 volunteers, including dentists, dental hygienists, assistants and Marquette University School of Dentistry students.

MOM is an emotional, real-life illustration of the need to make "Healthy Choices" to remove barriers and expand access to oral health care in Wisconsin. You can learn more by watching this short video. If you'd like to experience this inspiring event, please contact WDA Government Services Director Mara Brooks. We'd love to have you join us.

Click to watch the video



This E-Lert addresses a variety of oral health topics being discussed in the Capitol.

They include a recent vote to use tobacco control funds to help support nonprofit dental clinics, legislators' views on the state's role in funding dental education and WDA's ideas to improve the low grade Wisconsin again earned on a national report card for children's dental health.

If you'd like to talk more about these issues or WDA's "Healthy Choices" plan to break down barriers to oral health care for Wisconsinites, please let me know.

Mara Brooks   Mara Brooks, WDA Government Services Director
608-250-3442 or mbrooks@wda.org
WDA Leaders

Gene Shoemaker, DDS

Steve Stoll, DDS

Vice President
Tim Durtsche, DDS
La Crosse

Immediate Past-President
Kent Vandehaar, DDS
Chippewa Falls

Legislative Committee Chair
Eric teDuits, DDS

Wisconsin Dental Political Action Committee Chair
Dave Clemens, DDS
Wisconsin Dells

Executive Director
Mark Paget

Director of Government Services
Mara Brooks

Contract Lobbyist
Peter Christianson
DeWitt Ross & Stevens, S.C.

Contract Lobbyist
Forbes McIntosh
Government Policy Solutions

About the WDA

The WDA, established in 1870, is the dental profession's leading voice in Wisconsin. It has 3,000 member dentists, representing 88 percent of all licensed, practicing dentists in the state. 

The WDA pursues a variety of activities and programs relating to advocacy, education, empowerment and service. All programs support the WDA's mission to promote professional excellence and quality oral health care in Wisconsin.


Executive Office: 6737 W. Washington St., Suite 2360, West Allis, WI 53214 | 414-276-4520
Legislative Office: 10 East Doty, Suite 509, Madison, WI 53703 | 608-250-3442
Copyright © 2011 All Rights Reserved.

If you do not wish to receive future Healthy Choices E-Lert messages from the WDA, send e-mail to evaladez@wda.org