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June 12, 2010

Governor Quinn Signs Law to Expand Dental Care Access for Working Families
New Law Clears Hurdles for Dentists to Provide Voluntary Care

BLOOMINGTON – June 12, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill into law that makes it easier for Illinois’ dentists to provide voluntary care to low-income families enrolled in public health care programs.

"Keeping Illinois’ families healthy is one of the most important duties I have as Governor, and dental problems can lead to serious health issues,” said Governor Quinn. “I am proud to sign this legislation to help more families see a dentist and get the care they need to stay healthy.”

House Bill 5859 allows licensed dentists to provide volunteer care through a nonprofit health clinic, which can then receive payments from the state. The payments will help the clinics cover the costs of dental equipment and supplies.

Under current law, free and low-cost health clinics cannot be reimbursed for volunteer care provided by a dentist, unless is the dentist is personally enrolled as a Medicaid provider. The new law requires only the clinic to be enrolled with Medicaid. The clinics can use the Medicaid funding to pay for dental care costs such as equipment and supplies. Eligible non-profit clinics include federally qualified health centers and public health clinics.

The law will help encourage more dentists to treat low-income families throughout Illinois. House Bill 5859 was sponsored by Sen. Deanna Demuzio (D-Carlinville) and Rep. Naomi Jakobsson (D-Urbana) and passed the Illinois General Assembly unanimously. It takes effect on Jan. 1.

Governor Quinn signed the legislation at an event in Bloomington where approximately 800 dentists and volunteers gathered to provide free dental care for an estimated 1,500 low-income children and adults. The two-day clinic was organized by the Illinois State Dental Society.


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