#NewYork: School #dental program earns statewide honor (via www.thedailystar.com)

6 Jul

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A local health care network has earned statewide recognition for its efforts to improve dental care for area children.

Bassett’s School-Based Health/Oral Health Program is the winner of the Healthcare Association of New York State’s 2015 Community Health Improvement Award, according to a Thursday announcement from HANYS that commended the program’s dental component in particular.

“Bassett Healthcare Network has created an infrastructure to address a critical need throughout their region,” said Dennis Whalen, president of HANYS.

Preventive oral health care, such as cleanings and fluoride varnish, was added to the school-based health program 15 years ago, and those services have expanded in some schools to include restorative care, such as extractions and root canals, all at no out-of-pocket cost to patients, Bassett officials said.

“It is reaffirming to have the work of the school-based health team recognized in this way,” said Dr. Chris Kjolhede, pediatrician and co-director of Bassett’s program. “Oral health is critical to overall physical well-being and can have a significant impact on long-term health.”

Bassett’s school-based health program is the largest in the state, with 19 centers in 14 districts in Otsego, Chenango, Delaware and Schoharie Counties. Last year, the program provided more than 2,000 students with preventive dental services and more than 400 with treatment and restorative care, according to Bassett officials.

According to a 2009 health and wellness survey of households within Bassett’s service area, 44.8 percent of respondents reported they did not have dental insurance for their children or had a difficult time finding a dentist to accept their insurance. Parents also found it difficult to take time off from work to get their children to appointments.

Jennifer Ashton, of Sherburne, has three children enrolled in the Sherburne-Earlville school-based health center, she said Thursday.

With children ages 9, 12 and 14 and an at-home childcare center to run, Ashton finds the program “so convenient,” she said.

Source: http://www.thedailystar.com/news/local_news/school-dental-program-earns-statewide-honor/article_a8cceaa5-b7c5-5083-83a9-c82d1fda95d5.html

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