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Pacific Leads Push for Oral Health Care for Disabled, Elderly

Dr. Paul Glassman, co-director of the Pacific Center for Special Care, addresses a group of oral health care advocates during a march to the Capitol in Sacramento.

October  29, 2007

State lawmakers are considering a proposal to include dental care for people with disabilities and the elderly in California's health care reform, thanks to a special task force spearheaded by the Pacific Center for Special Care at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry.

The Statewide Task Force on Oral Health for People with Special Needs and Aging Californians, co-founded by faculty members Dr. Paul Glassman and Christine Miller, presented a letter of resolution to Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) on Friday, Oct. 19, following the task force's annual meeting in Sacramento, Calif. More than 80 representatives from government and social service agencies signed the letter urging the state legislature to provide funding for oral health care for low-income people with special needs and older adults.

"The task force has identified and collected data that demonstrate that people with disabilities have more dental disease and more trouble accessing oral health services than other segments of the population," said Glassman, co-director for the Pacific Center for Special Care. "It is also clear that the number of people with disabilities is growing dramatically and these individuals are likely to have limited financial resources."

More than 80 representatives from government and social services agencies met with Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), pictured at center, on the steps of the Capitol in Sacramento to advocate for oral health care reform for people with disabilities and aging adults. In addition to the oral health resolution letter presented to state legislators, the task force has drafted a policy brief asking for support of a program that would make it easier for dentists to treat aging adults and people with disabilities. The program would provide dentists with training to treat patients with special needs and allow for increased reimbursements from Denti-Cal, the state's dental insurance plan.

Founded in 1998, the Pacific Center for Special Care is a grant-funded division at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry devoted to promoting and expanding access to affordable, quality oral health care for people with special needs throughout California.

Category Type: Community Outreach

Contact:  Office of Public Relations, 415.929.6434, pr@pacific.edu