Tag Archives: dental

PhoenixChildrensHospital

PCH opening Down Syndrome Clinic

Phoenix Children’s Hospital will announce the opening of Arizona’s first and only Down Syndrome Clinic at a press conference that will be held at the hospital between noon and 1 pm on Thursday, March 21. Patients, families and physicians will be available for interviews. A light lunch will be served.

Last year, 160 babies were born in Arizona with Down syndrome and more than 900 children with Down syndrome have been treated at Phoenix Children’s Hospital during one 5-year period. The new clinic will provide services in a clinic present on site three times a month, half day clinics. Specialties include: Developmental pediatrics, Genetics, PT, OT, Speech and a clinical coordinator.

Because of the complexity of the syndrome, other specialties could also be involved in the child’s care.  Some of the virtual team members will include: Cardiology, Hem/Onc, GI/Nutrition, Dental, Psychology, Ophthalmology, ENT, Surgery, Neurosurgery, Sleep Lab, Pulmonology, Immunology/Allergy, Neurology, Endocrinology and Psychiatry.

“The goal of the clinic is to provide multi-disciplinary evaluations and interventions for children with Down Syndrome from birth to 18 years within one center, so families spend less time pursuing services through multiple agencies and professionals; we want to become a one-stop-shop for families in Arizona,” said Dr. Robin Blitz, MD, FAAP, Director, Developmental Pediatrics, Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

 

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Tobacco Tax Funds Kindergarten Scholarships

Eighty qualifying families in the City of Chandler will have the opportunity to apply for preschool slots funded by tobacco-tax dollars.

The $270,000 First Things First Pre-Kindergarten Scholarship Grant awarded to the Chandler School District is paid for with tobacco-tax dollars approved by Arizona voters. In 2006, Proposition 203 increased statewide cigarette taxes by 80 cents for the First Things First programs.

In addition to the 80 preschool slots made available for qualifying families, the grant also pays for dental and health screenings, nutrition education, and family literacy programs. Families must be below a certain poverty level based on income and household size in order to be eligible for the scholarship grant. A family household of four people for example, must have an annual income of less than $46,100.

The preschool slots offer reduced tuition rates to the recipients of the First Things First Scholarship award. Children must be 4 years old, and classes meet five days a week, Monday through Friday. The Chandler School District offers half day programs for $50 per month, and full day programs for $100 per month.

“The Chandler Unified School District will place 40 of the 80 available preschool slots in Title 1 school areas, where the majority of low-income families live,” said Frank Narducci, assistant superintendent for elementary education. The other half of the slots will be distributed throughout the school district.

Barb Mozdzen, governing board member of the Chandler School District, emphasizes the importance of early childhood care. “From birth to age five is the most crucial development period of a child’s life,” Mozdzen said.

Certified teaching staff help children get ready for kindergarten by using hands on activities, and early learning standards curriculum. Daily meals and snacks are also provided as a part of the preschool programs grant.

Narducci explains the main goal for the First Things First grant, and how it helps families with young children. “The grant award is intended to reduce any barriers for individuals to access quality pre-kindergarten programming,” Narducci said.

Families are being made aware of this opportunity when they request information about preschools, and also through the school district’s website. “Word of mouth is pretty strong too,” Narducci said.

The First Things First Scholarship Grant application can be found on the Arizona Department of Education website at www.ade.az.gov. When applying for the grant, families are required to provide the child’s birth certificate, and immunization record, along with proof of residence and income. The grant is awarded on a first come first serve basis.

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7 Tips for Choosing a Dental Plan for Small Businesses

Graduating students and alumni rate dental coverage among the top five most important benefits — medical insurance, yearly salary increase, 401(k) retirement plan, dental insurance and life insurance. In an increasingly competitive environment, a strong benefits package can play a key role in attracting and retaining top talent. Dental coverage has an important position in rounding out that package.

Unfortunately, many small business owners are unsure what to look for when choosing a dental benefits plan. In fact, 90 percent of benefits decision-makers rely on a broker or consultant to help them choose the best plan and carrier for their employees.

Here are seven tips from Delta Dental of Arizona to help you choose the best dental insurance plan for your company:

1. Understand your employees’ needs
Understanding your organization’s oral health needs is the first step in evaluating your dental benefits options. Different demographics face different oral health challenges. For example:
• Employees ages 20-39: This generation generally faces fewer oral health challenges. They benefit most from prevention and find value in a plan that covers basic cleanings and checkups. Members of this age group are more likely to be starting families.
• Employees ages 40-59: Members of this group often require restorative procedures. As their oral health needs change with age, they tend to seek ways to manage their health and wellness. They value a benefits carrier that provides access to expert resources and offers them choices to help confront oral health challenges.
• Employees ages 60+: Employees nearing retirement are more likely to face chronic conditions. They value a plan that helps them manage the expenses associated with more complicated procedures.

2. Find out how big the dentist network is
Employees are likely to be more satisfied with their dental plan when they can answer “yes” to this question: “Is my dentist in the network?” Having more in-network dentists to choose from improves network utilization rates simply because more employees are visiting an in-network dentist. This means more enrollees are enjoying protection from balance billing and saving the group money on claims – a satisfying result for the employer and employees.

3. Focus on preventative care
A strong dental insurance company will help employees manage their oral health by encouraging preventive care. This reduces long-term costs on the dental side and could also have a significant long-term impact on overall health and health care costs.

4. Ensure benefits information is available online
Progressive dental carriers’ online capabilities enhance customer service, provide flexibility and transparency and improve operating efficiency, from billing and paying claims to enrollment and enrollee communication.

5. Ask about customer satisfaction levels
An employer and its employees must have confidence that they’ll be taken care of after signing on with a carrier. Some carriers even include guarantees with financial penalties should they fail to meet agreed-upon service standards.

6. Consider adding enhanced benefits coverage
The U.S. Surgeon General’s office has noted correlations between periodontal disease and health care costs for certain medical conditions, and studies examining the effects of oral health on systemic medical conditions continue to point out even more potential connections.

For little or no increase in premium, many carriers can add enhanced benefits for individuals with medical conditions that may benefit from additional oral health care. This could include pregnant women and/or persons with diabetes, cardiac conditions, suppressed immune systems, risk of oral cancer and other systemic diseases.

7. Be picky
Medical and dental benefits operate under very different models. While the former focuses more on treatment, the latter concentrates primarily on prevention. Furthermore, building and maintaining an effective dentist network is much different than building a network of medical care providers.

All things equal, an employer should choose a dental carrier that’s an expert at providing and delivering effective, high-quality dental benefits. A carrier committed to providing such dental benefits will be intimately familiar with the latest dental research, will have aggregated data on dental utilization and dentist reimbursements, and will be able use that data to create better products and control costs.

Regardless of the dental benefits carrier they choose, employers should be commended for the decision to provide dental benefits to their employees. People with dental benefits exhibit more healthy behaviors and better oral health habits – including brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist more regularly – and are less likely to smoke.

David Hurley is the vice president of sales for Delta Dental of Arizona, the leading dental benefits provider in Arizona, serving more than 753,000 enrollees and more than 3,100 contracted dentists across the state.

aetna - save money on insurance at Costco

Aetna Offers Individual Plans To Costco Members In Arizona

Aetna has announced it is now offering individual health insurance plans to Costco members in Arizona. The Costco Personal Health Insurance program, of which there are five plans to choose from, offers broad major medical benefits, an extensive network of doctors and hospitals, and a variety of helpful services, tools and information, tailored to meet the needs of Costco members.

In addition to Arizona, the Costco Personal Health Insurance program is also available to Costco members in Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia. Aetna plans to expand the program to other markets later this year.

“We recognize the importance of providing affordable health solutions that deliver value and convenience for individuals and families. We are proud to join with a respected retailer like Costco to provide health insurance options to their members in Arizona,” said Barbara DeMaio, head of Individual Business for Aetna.

The Costco Personal Insurance plan offers broad major medical benefits, dental options, an extensive network of doctors and hospitals, and a variety of helpful services, tools and information. Costco is providing one-of-a-kind value to its members through benefits like lower copays on prescriptions at Costco pharmacies. In addition, all plans include special features and lower monthly premiums negotiated only for Costco members.

According to John Conlon, Director of Insurance Services for Costco, the new program delivers the advantages Costco members have come to expect from the warehouse store chain. “There are a variety of plan types to choose from, each offering the right combination of quality, value, and special members-only benefits.”

Conlon points to lower copays at Costco pharmacies as one example of the exclusive benefits available to members. “The opportunity for Costco members to access lower cost pharmacy services at their local warehouse store is convenient and affordable, and speaks to Aetna’s commitment to making health care easier to use.”

For more information on the Costco Personal Health Insurance program, members can call 866-286-3155 or visit www.costcopersonalhealth.com.