Lincoln County Health Department Partners with Spokane Regional Health District, Others to Establish its Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD) Program


LINCOLN COUNTY, Wash. – June 13, 2011 – Lincoln County has established an Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD) program, focusing on early prevention services and oral health education to low-income families with infants and children, 0-5, with the help of a grant from the Washington Dental Service (WDS) Foundation. The $10,000 grant represents the first regional ABCD program administration and builds upon the strength of Spokane County’s ABCD Program to improve the oral health of young children in Lincoln County.

"We are constantly working to improve health care services for children," said Ed Dzedzy, Administrator of the Lincoln County Health Department. "By educating families on the importance of oral health and by increasing provider capacity, we are making strides in ensuring children have access to comprehensive services so they may live healthy and productive lives. We are pleased to establish this partnership with Spokane Regional Health District, which established the state’s original ABCD Program back in the mid 1990s. Partnering is the most cost-effective and efficient way to meet the oral health needs of our county’s young children.” 

Lincoln County joins 33 of Washington’s 39 counties in establishing an ABCD program. The program is a partnership of the Lincoln County Health Department, Spokane Regional Health District, the state Medicaid Program, University of Washington School of Dentistry, and the Washington Dental Service Foundation. 

Washington Dental Service Foundation provides start-up grants during the first three years of program operation, with health department and Medicaid matching funds covering the balance of the program’s budget. 

There are 525 Medicaid-eligible children under age six in Lincoln County (FY 2009 Medicaid Administration data), and 61% are not currently accessing Medicaid dental services.

"This collaborative effort is important because it focuses on preventing disease," said Laura Smith, President and CEO of Washington Dental Service Foundation. "What makes the Lincoln County effort high impact is that the message of prevention is not only coming from public health officials and dentists, but the message is also being supported by others organizations in Lincoln County, including  ECEAP, school nurses, and the medical community.”

Two Lincoln County dentists have already been certified by the University of Washington School of Dentistry to participate in the ABCD Program. 

“When children do not have access to preventive oral health care services it can affect their general health as well as their school readiness,” said Danita Hammond, Health Educator for Lincoln County.   “The ABCD Program is an example of how public health is involved in the community every day of the year and how we strategically and cost-effectively plan with other agencies to meet critical needs in the community.”

About ABCD The Access to Baby and Child Dentistry program has been recognized nationally as an innovative program and a best practice by a variety of organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, WK Kellogg Foundation, and the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors. The ABCD program is a public/private partnership that includes the Washington state Medicaid program, the University of Washington School of Dentistry, the Department of Health, the Washington State Dental Association, and the Washington Dental Service Foundation. For more information on ABCD, visit: www.abcd-dental.org/

About the Washington Dental Service Foundation ABCD program is one of several innovative programs developed or supported by the Washington Dental Service Foundation to prevent oral disease. The Washington Dental Service Foundation is the state’s largest foundation dedicated to improving oral health by supporting innovative approaches and focusing on dental disease prevention.  For more information on Washington Dental Service Foundation, visit: www.deltadentalwa.com/wdsfoundation/wdsfoundation.htm