The Weekly Wednesday Update is our newsletter which we email every Wednesday with oral health, health and policy updates from around the state and nationally.

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April 14, 2021
Volume 12, Issue 14


Kansas Legislature Returns May 3

On Friday, April 9, the Legislature reached First Adjournment. They are now on break until the Veto Session begins on May 3. This is the wrap-up portion of the session when the Legislature considers any vetoes the Governor may issue and finalizes last issues, including budget items.

Several big picture issues have been resolved, including changes to the state’s emergency management act. Education funding and policy issues, possible COVID relief policies for businesses, and the allocation of federal funds and the impact on the budget will be the topics of conversation during the Veto Session. Advocates will continue promoting Medicaid Expansion, but so far this year legislative leaders have not been interested. There are major new federal incentives for expanding Medicaid this year, and Kansas remains one of only 12 states that has not expanded coverage to low-income residents. Read more about the incentives in this article from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The House and Senate approved a budget, but several items will be reviewed and modified as needed during the Veto Session. Between now and then the state will receive the latest state revenue estimates and more federal guidance for the American Rescue Plan Act funds coming to Kansas. It is important to note that the budget bill sent to the Governor at the end of last week does not include K-12 education funding and the Governor will likely veto the education bill that includes K-12 funding. In short, the budget is not resolved. The budget did include $150,000 for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for school oral health screenings.

Last week, both chambers came to an agreement on a major income tax bill, SB 50. This tax cut is estimated to cost roughly $284 million over the next three years, substantially less than the Senate’s original version, SB 22, but a veto appears increasingly possible. Read more about the details of the potential budget hole that could be created with a tax cut from this article from Kansas Reflector.

While most of the issues we have been following and advocating for this year have been resolved, we will continue following activity during the Veto Session and keeping our readers informed. If you have any questions, please send them to us at info@oralhealthkansas.org.



Cancer Awareness Month

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, every hour, 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year, someone dies of oral or oropharyngeal cancer (cancer of the mouth and upper throat). Yet, if oral cancer is detected and treated early, treatment-related health problems are reduced and survival rates may increase. Oral cancer is twice as common in men than in women.

Some symptoms that may occur are:

  • White or red patches on lips, gum, tongue or mouth lining
  • A lump which can be felt inside the mouth or on the neck
  • Pain or difficulty chewing, swallowing or speaking
  • Swelling of the jaw
  • A sore on the lips or in the mouth that doesn’t go away

Here are some ways to prevent this disease:

  • Don’t use tobacco in any form. If you use tobacco, quit.
  • Limit alcohol to no more than one drink per day if you’re a woman or two drinks per day if you’re a man
  • Stay out of the sun, especially between 10 am and 4 pm when sunlight is strongest
  • Always use lip balm with SPF 30 or higher
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables

For more information go to https://www.preventcancer.org/education/preventable-cancers/oral-cancer/

Oral Health Kansas also has a handy one page Tip and Trick on Oral Cancer (English/Spanish).



Child Abuse And Oral Health

During Child Abuse Prevention month, communities are working together to strengthen families and assist with resources and prevention services. Health care providers work closely with families and can detect when a child is being neglected or abused. Families may switch providers in fear of being questioned but they usually stay with the same dentist. Dentists are able to observe cavities, periodontal disease or other oral health conditions that may alert them to a form of neglect. Dental neglect is as serious as neglect to any other area of the body and can include rampant caries-tooth decay affecting many or most of the child’s teeth. Sixty to 75 percent of all physical abuse of children occurs to the head, face, mouth, or neck. We all have a role to play in preventing child abuse and neglect. We know now that you cannot be healthy without good oral health at any age. Some families express a lack of concern about children’s decaying teeth, with the mistaken idea that baby teeth don’t matter.

Here are some resources to help when dealing with neglect:



Help With Dental Screenings

School dental screenings can have a huge impact on communities and students.The Bureau of Oral Health at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment is currently recruiting extended care permit dental hygienists to help complete school-based dental screenings across the state of Kansas. To learn more, click here.



Upcoming Events

  • 2021 Conference on Oral Health, presented by Oral Health Kansas, November 4 and 5. More information will be provided here.
  • Kansas Department of Health and Environment : Virtual Lunch and Learn, TOMORROW, April 15, 12-1pm CST, Here is more information.
  • Learning from Clinicians and their Patients: Why Oral Health Collaboration is Essential to Overall Health Outcomes Webcasts, April 20, 3pm CST. Register here.
  • American Academy of Pediatrics Webinar: Addressing Adolescent Vaping and E-Cigarette Use, Friday, April 23, 12-1pm CST. Register here.





Congratulations Jennifer (Jenni) Ferguson, Dental Champions Class 6, on her new promotion! Jenni is now a Senior Clinical Consultant at Cerner Corporation. Jenni has been with Cerner Corporation for two years. Previously she served as the Children’s Oral Health Program Manager at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment where we collaborated with her on several projects. She also served for several years on our Conference Planning Committee. We always enjoyed working with Jenni and are happy to celebrate her promotion!



Sugary Drink Display Sanitation

Out of an abundance of caution, we are suspending use of the Sugary Drink Display until further notice.

During this time, hand washing and social distancing is on everyone’s mind. We want everyone to have the comfort of knowing we sanitize our sugary drink displays. They are wiped down and cleaned off after they have been returned.



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