Congressman’s Visit Highlights Need for Access to Affordable, High Quality Dental Care for Fall River Children and Families
FALL RIVER –– Congressman Joe Kennedy (MA-4) toured the local Kool Smiles dental office today, highlighting the importance of dental care access, the need for ongoing education about dental hygiene, and the affordability challenges facing the Fall River community.
“Access to good dental health is important to overall health, yet affordable dental care remains out of reach for too many families in Massachusetts’ 4th District,” said Congressman Kennedy. “That’s why I was pleased to visit the Kool Smiles dental practice today and see firsthand how dentists are making high-quality dental care a reality for families who have been historically underserved, including patients who rely on Massachusetts’ Medicaid program for coverage as well as those without any form of dental insurance.”
The Congressman’s visit comes at a time when, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), nearly 80% of the nation’s practicing dentists do not accept Medicaid or State Children’s Health Insurance Plans (SCHIP), and when tooth decay disproportionately affects children from areas of lower socioeconomic status.
“It is important our nation’s policymakers understand how dental health impacts the health of our nation, and how lack of preventive dental care increases community health costs in the long run,” said Dr. Afrin Siddiqui, DDS, Massachusetts Area Dental Director for Kool Smiles. “We appreciate Congressman Kennedy’s interest in learning more about the dental care crisis and our local efforts to improve access to care, as well as the Congressman’s understanding that group practice models like ours are helping to provide dental homes for hundreds of local children and their families.”
About Kool Smiles
Kool Smiles is a network of local dental offices dedicated to expanding access to quality dental care for children and families in underserved communities. Kool Smiles provides preventative care, diagnostic imaging and a full range of restorative care supported with electronic health records. Founded in 2002, Kool Smiles has seven affiliated dental practices across Massachusetts, primarily in underserved communities that have historically lacked access to dental care. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), approximately 80 percent of dentists do not accept patients with Medicaid or State Children’s Health Insurance Plans (SCHIP), citing, among other reasons, low reimbursement for their services. Kool Smiles helps provide a safety net for these patients who often are not aware of the importance of good dental health practices and regular check-ups. For more information, visit http://mykoolsmiles.com.