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Dear Colleague:

Nothing makes me happier than reporting to you that the Denver Water Commissioners voted unanimously to retain community water fluoridation for its more than 1 million customers.  I want to thank all of our partners that wrote a letter, provided testimony at the hearing, reached out individually to a Commissioner, or educated their constituents about the importance of fluoridation in fighting cavities.  

But our work is not over--Snowmass recently had an unscheduled vote which removed fluoridation--but diligent community members are fighting to have it reinstated.  Hayden has a ballot initiative in November to determine whether or not to keep fluoridating its water.  OHCO and network partners are working diligently in all these communities by providing technical assistance, financial support, and strategic planning guidance to help keep fluoride in our community water systems. 

Denver’s decision is not only important for its customers, but sets a national tone by listening to the science. The new strategy of those opposed to fluoride is to now concede that fluoride helps prevent cavities- but make false claims that it impacts a person’s health.  Fortunately, Denver chose to listen to the case that fluoride is safe and effective.

If you think your community could be facing similar discussions, we are thrilled that the Oral Health 2020 All-Partner Network has launched Preserving and Implementing Water Fluoridation in Your Community: A Community Toolkit. 

This new toolkit is a wonderful resource for communities facing this issue.  OHCO is in the process of developing Colorado--specific resources to compliment this toolkit which should be released by the end of 2015!

Deborah L. Foote, MPA
Executive Director
Oral Health Colorado
OHCO Welcomes Three New Board Members

OHCO’s Board of Directors has appointed three new members which will add to our ability to meet our mission.  Please join us in welcoming: 


  • Greg Hill, JD (top middle) - For the past year Greg has served as the Executive Director of the Colorado Dental Association. For the previous 15 years, Greg was the Assistant Executive Director of the Kansas Dental Association, where he also served for 10 years as the Executive Director of the Kansas Dental Charitable Foundation, the parent organization of Kansas Mission of Mercy (KMOM).
  • Ted R. Mentry, III (top left) - Ted is currently the VP Business Banking Relationship Officer with UMB Bank Denver. His background includes 11 years of commercial banking with a focus on real estate, dental, and non-profit organizations. Ted previously was an Ambassador with the Metro North Chamber of Commerce supporting small businesses and is a supporter of the Metro Denver Dental Society.
  • Stephanie Rose, PhD (top right) - Dr. Rose is an Assistant Professor in Women's and Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs and is Senior Pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Colorado Springs. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in English Literature and received her Ph.D. in American Studies from Purdue University.

Have you Registered for OHCO's Annual Meeting?
OHCO will present its annual Oral Health Champion Awards at our Annual Meeting on October 9th.  We are pleased to announce that OHCO will be honoring Representative Joann Ginal as our 2015 Legislative Oral Health Champion and also will present additional oral health champion awards. This year’s guest speaker will be DentaQuest's Patrick Finnerty who will provide an update on the progress being in building a political movement to add oral health benefits to Medicare.  Please join us for lunch at History Colorado and support OHCO! 
                                                                                                                                   Joann Ginal
Also, in case you did not know, the Colorado Center on Law and Policy is hosting its annual awards breakfast at the same location, the History Colorado Center right before ours. You should attend both! Here's a link to registration.                                                             
Public Will Building One Partnership at a Time 
OHCO’s goal is to build public will for oral health by enlisting new partners across Colorado to educate and activate change around oral health at the community level. 
Because of OHCO’s efforts, NAACP Colorado is moving closer to adopting a statewide oral health proclamation that recognizes poor oral health disproportionately impacts people of color and must be addressed along with the other racial and ethnic health disparities in our healthcare system. The proclamation was introduced by the NAACP Aurora Branch and is now pending a final introduction by the Pueblo Branch at the NAACP Colorado, Montana, Wyoming State Conference this October, when it will be considered as a state resolution. If these efforts succeed, the State Conference will look to seek national approval in 2016.
OHCO is partnering with the Colorado Muslim Society to conduct two oral health leadership training sessions during the Spring of 2016 for 55 imams (worship leader in a mosque) across Colorado. The purpose of these trainings is twofold: to educate the Colorado Muslim community about the importance of oral health as it relates to total well-being and to develop oral health champions in this faith community.
We continue our efforts to raise the awareness of communities experiencing oral health disparities and engage them in efforts to build public will for oral health in their communities.  Included are Stapleton FoundationOne Colorado Education Fund (which connects with 50,000 engaged LGBT Coloradans), Personal Assistance Services of Colorado (PASCO), and Advocacy Denver. Likewise, we continue our efforts to support and expand local oral health coalitions across Colorado. The most recent newcomer is the launch an oral health coalition in Cortez. This is the first time a group of key stakeholders are meeting to organize on oral health coalition in Montezuma County. 
The goal of all of these meetings is to provide local advocates with the tools and resources to help them continually grow the conversation about oral health in their communities.  
OHCO Communications Update
Working to enhance OHCO’s visibility as a leader in oral health advocacy, our communication efforts are expanding.  We have engaged in a number of strategies to strengthen our social media impact and are edging closer to our 1,000 follower/ fan social media goal which recently hit 725.  With our coverage of the Denver Water review of community water fluoridation, we saw a 44.6% increase in Tweet impressions over the last 30 days.  Not surprisingly, Facebook spiked last month at 375 people reached organically and 66 likes on the day Denver Water made its decision to continue community water fluoridation.
OHCO recently met with Univision and EDUCA Radio (the Denver Public Schools radio station for the Latino community) to discuss collaborative efforts to share information about oral health with their listening community.  OHCO also continues its leadership role in the diverse “Tap Water Coalition” that has received planning grants to develop a media and education campaign with Telemundo to encourage viewers to drink tap water for the benefit of their health and the environment.
Guest blogs and columns, newspapers stories and interviews continue to help OHCO educate the community about oral health issues in Colorado.  If you haven’t seen the latest, check out the recent pieces in the Colorado Statesman , the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, Health News Colorado, and the Colorado Trust Blog.
OHCO also is refreshing its website with completion scheduled for the end of September. And if you are not connected with us on social media, please like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.
SMSK Check Up! 

Smart Mouths Smart Kids (SMSK) is entering a new and exciting phase of implementation, with the selection of three diverse pilot communities that will “test drive” the toolkit in order to inform best practices and more widespread use. A team of stakeholders is leading the charge, including OHCO, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and the University of Colorado School of Public Health. The SMSK project was developed with funds from the DentaQuest Foundation during its Oral Health 2014 initiative.

Through implementation and expansion, SMSK contributes to a major goal  of the Foundation’s Oral Health 2020 initiative— that by 2020, the ten largest school districts in the nation will have incorporated oral health into their systems.

Over the next several months, the Aspen to Parachute Dental Coalition, Kids in Need of Dentistry, and the Northeast Colorado Dental Coalition will begin to use the SMSK toolkit, especially the feasibility calculator and data application.  Each community will focus on a local/customized approach to using the toolkit, including:

  • Using intraoral cameras to document decay and communicate with parents about the dental problem(s) their children have, with a goal of improving parent compliance for seeking recommended follow-up care.
  • Training treatment “teams” comprised of two hygienists and an assistant, to use the data application during dental prevention education, screenings, cleanings, fluoride varnishes and dental sealants. Customized reports of student oral health data will be shared with participating schools.
  • Increasing tablet technology capacity for dental hygienists contracted with a local public health agency.

SMSK’s over-arching goals that the dental health of Colorado students will be improved through sustainable school-linked oral health prevention programs.  Each of the three pilot locations will help SMSK to refine its tools and technical assistance in order to position SMSK for future expansion in Colorado, and nationally. The SMSK website will be updated to include “pilots in progress” stories, allowing other interested communities to begin generating ideas, laying a foundation, framing, and building their own SMSK school-linked programs. Learning tools will be added to the website, including a “getting started” infographic and a step-by-step “walk” to access and use the data application and feasibility calculator.

For more information, contact Deb Foote at deborah@oralhealthcolorado.org.  

Why You Should Care about SIM Grants

Many of you may ask why OHCO is writing an article on the SIM (State Innovation Model) grant--isn’t it all about the integration of physical and behavioral health?  

OHCO believes that any systems change effort must include assuring that Coloradans have access to comprehensive integrated care--and that includes dental services.

To help facilitate the oral health conversation, OHCO has reached out to all its network partners that have been assigned to a SIM Workgroup and asked that they keep oral health in mind.

Additionally, OHCO has recruited individuals to be  watchdogs for oral health- and have been assigned to cover a specific workgroup.  

We plan to occasionally convene our network to discuss how oral health is being included in the SIM activities. Additionally, after extensive efforts, our own Executive Director has been appointed to the Evaluation Workgroup! 

We believe that there are “no cost” ways to weave oral health into the SIM opportunity.  From inclusion of oral health in practice transformation to covering oral health in the curriculum for community health workers, oral health cannot be left out of the conversation.  For more information on SIM, click here

Provider Revalidation and Enrollment
Beginning September 15, 2015, all Colorado providers who want to continue, or begin, providing services to Medicaid and CHP+ members after March 31, 2016, will be required to revalidate and enroll under new federal enrollment screening criteria. To meet these new requirements, as well as to ensure that you are enrolled in our new claims processing system, Colorado providers must revalidate using our new Online Provider Enrollment (OPE) tool. Although our new OPE tool will launch in September of 2015, CDPHE is asking that you complete your revalidation during your assigned revalidation and enrollment wave.
Based on CMS provider type and risk designation, the revalidation process may include a criminal background check, fingerprinting, and unannounced site visits - including pre-enrollment site visits for some providers. Visit our provider resources page for information specific to your provider type and information specific to the HCBS service provided (if applicable). 
Providers who fail to revalidate and enroll by March 31, 2016 may have their claims suspended or denied. For more information, visit our website.
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