NEW: Pew Drops RI’s Child Dental Care Grade from ‘A’ to ‘B’
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Pew graded the states based on eight benchmarks that are a roadmap for policymakers looking to improve and expand access to children's dental health. The grades reflect changes that have occurred since Pew's initial assessment in 2010.
From 'A' to 'B' and why
According to the Pew summary of RI's performance, the state met five of the eight policy benchmarks in 2011, and the drop from 'A' to 'B' stemmed from examination of its rules governing dental hygienists' ability to place sealants on students' teeth in school-based programs.
"Although the relevant statute has not changed since last year," according to the report, "policy makers recently clarified that a dentist's screening is necessary before a hygienist can place a sealant."
Highlights from the report: RI offers fluoridated water to almost 85 percent of its residents and has provided dental services to almost 47 percent of Medicaid-enrolled chidlren.
More than 16 million children still lack access to basic dental care despite efforts by states to improve their dental health policies, according to this year's 50-state report card from Pew.
For the entire report, including RI's performance, go here.