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Nevada Medicaid awarded $1.6M to expand and develop dental workforce

Posted at 8:40 AM, Jul 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 11:40:54-04

CARSON CITY, Nev. (KTNV) — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration has awarded Nevada Medicaid nearly $1.6 million over four years to create five new programs.

These programs aim to develop oral health service delivery infrastructure by expanding who can offer services in Nevada.

"Nevada faces significant challenges in addressing the dental and oral health needs of diverse populations, especially in rural and frontier counties,” said Dr. Antonina Capurro, Nevada Medicaid Deputy Administrator and the grant’s Principal Investigator. “More than 70% of Nevadans live in a federally designated Health Provider Shortage Area. This grant provides an opportunity to implement innovative and diverse strategies to address health care provider shortages in Nevada through the creation of oral health infrastructure and workforce development."

It has been more than 10 years since Nevada has secured this grant, with an application that scored 99 out of 100 possible points. Work to implement these initiatives is anticipated to begin on Sept. 1, 2022.

The initiatives that will be enacted will include developing a workforce pipeline to train high school students in rural counties in dental assisting and offer apprenticeships, as well as offering training for school nurses to provide oral health assessments.

The Nevada Dental Health Collaborative will also be created to foster interest in dental public health, in addition to the creation of an Office of Oral Health Innovation to conduct annual needs assessments.

Finally, a community-based dental clinic will be launched in Tonopah in collaboration with the Nevada Dental Foundation and the Northern Nye County Hospital District.