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WSDA honored by Washington State Senate

May 19, 2017

By Jennifer Garvin

Honored: A new Washington resolution honors the Washington State Dental Association for improving access. From left to right: Washington State Sen. Joe Fain, R-47, Dr. Amy Cook, Dr. John Gibbons, WSDA Executive Director Bracken Killpack and State Sen. Karen Keiser, D-33.
Olympia, Wash. — The Washington State Senate recognized the Washington State Dental Association March 31 for its efforts on improving the state's access to dental care.

In the resolution, Senators Karen Keiser and Joe Fain praised the organization for the "valuable role played by the hundreds of Washington dentists who promote access to dental care by volunteering their services to the uninsured, and by treating patients with special needs and those with Medicaid dental insurance."

The resolution also singled out WSDA dentist Dr. Amy Cook, noting she "has succeeded in creating a thriving dental practice and has kept an open door to local Medicaid patients despite the low reimbursement rates for her professional dental services." In 2016, WSDA adopted Dr. Cook's Take 5 program, which encourages the state's dentists to accept at least five patients with Medicaid Apple Health dental coverage.

The resolution also praised WSDA for the following:

  • Encouraging some 200 Washington dentists to donate free care to almost 2,500 patients during a four-day, volunteer-run health care clinic in Seattle in 2016.
  • Providing dependable access to good dental care, which the legislators noted, is "an important part of maintaining good overall health" and helps educate patients so in order to avoid complications for pregnant women and diabetic patients from dental disease.
  • Participating in the Access to Baby and Child Dentistry program, which since 1999 has more than doubled the percentage of Medicaid Apple Health eligible babies, toddlers and preschoolers who receive preventive dental care.
  • Adopting a resolution supporting continued eligibility in the ABCD program for patients with developmental disabilities who may be unable to cooperate in a traditional, adult dental setting.
"It was exciting to hear the Washington State Senate recognize our members for the work they do in communities across the state," said Bracken Killpack, executive director of the WSDA, in a news release. "We've said it all along: Our members work tirelessly on behalf of Washingtonians who would otherwise not have access to proper dental care. I'm so proud of Drs. Cook and Gibbons, and all WSDA members who give back with their time, talents and expertise. They truly represent organized dentistry."