Arizona's Oral Healthcare Crisis Detailed in Recent Report

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Dental Care for Arizona Convenes Meeting to Discuss Widespread Access and Affordability Issues and Innovative Dental Therapy Solution

“Rather than waiting on federal lawmakers to do something about healthcare, state lawmakers can—and should—seize the opportunity today to promote health care access and affordability in Arizona."

Dental Care for Arizona, an action group dedicated to increasing access to high quality oral healthcare for all Arizonans, convened a meeting today with legislators, the Inter-Tribal Association of Arizona and oral health advocates to discuss a new report from the Goldwater Institute on the state’s looming oral health crisis. This report includes an analysis of the problem and suggests that Arizona be a leader in modernizing the oral health delivery model that has failed to meet the needs of its population.

“Dental care is an important component of an individual's overall health,” said Arizona Senator Nancy Barto. “This report highlights the significant challenges we are facing, especially among our children and low income communities, and shines a light on the ways Arizona can help improve access to quality oral healthcare for all of our citizens.”

Most notably, the report reveals the impact of restrictive government policies that create artificial barriers to expanding the oral health workforce in Arizona. According to the report, Arizona is currently only meeting 31 percent of its oral healthcare needs, lagging behind the national average as well as its neighboring states.

“Rather than waiting on federal lawmakers to do something about healthcare, state lawmakers can—and should—seize the opportunity today to promote health care access and affordability in Arizona,” said report author Naomi Lopez Bauman, Director of Healthcare Policy for the Goldwater Institute.

Dental Care for Arizona supports licensing dental therapists, an innovative way to expand access to high quality and affordable care, helping to address the myriad challenges outlined in the Goldwater report.

The safety and quality track record for dental therapists is long and well documented. In addition to decades of experience in more than 50 countries around the world, more than 1,000 studies and evaluations confirm that dental therapists provide safe and quality care for dental patients, while also making dental care more available to the underserved.

For more information on dental therapist licensing efforts in Arizona, or to request a briefing on the Goldwater report, please visit dentalcareforaz.org.

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Carol Klimas
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