ODA Celebrates the Passage of HB 4128 and the Expansion of Children’s Dental Health Coverage

By: ODA Staff

Over the last two years, the Oregon Dental Association has worked with our partners  to help families of those born with craniofacial abnormalities to overcome some of the challenges associated with these types of birth defects  through legislation. Craniofacial abnormalities are the most common birth defect in the United States. In Oregon, 68 cases of cleft lip/palate amongst newborns were reported in 2007. These children are faced with real and potentially lasting challenges associated with oral clefts such as breathing, social integration, hearing, speech and language abilities.

HB 4128  helps the  families of patients with craniofacial abnormalities by preventing the costs of dental care from being prohibitive, which often forces the family to delay needed treatment for a child.  HB 2148 requires health benefit plans to cover medically necessary dental and orthodontic services for the treatment of craniofacial abnormalities.  A child born with a cleft frequently requires several different types of services over a number of years with treatment often beginning in the first months of childhood. In the treatment of oral clefts, timing is critical and delaying due to cost can impede or permanently stunt the development of a child. But with proper and timely treatment, a child with an oral cleft can develop on a normal arc.

ODA member dentists, Dr. Daniel Saucy and Dr. Judah Garfinkle along with ODA Lobbyist, George Okulitch and Dean Hale (father of a cleft palate patient) watched as Governor Kitzhaber signed HB 4128 in to law after unanimously passing both the Oregon House and Senate.  Our sincere thanks go out to Rep. Val Hoyle, HB 4128 chief sponsor, for all her hard work and dedication to improving the oral health of Oregonians and to Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield, Oregon Dental Services, Children First for Oregon, and the Oregon Medical Association for supporting the bill.


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