DENTAL HEALTH: L.A. County Officials Want Review of Schools’ Services
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday ordered the county health department to conduct a review of dental, vision and hearing services at public and private schools and to return next month with recommendations for a possible expansion of the programs. Despite the fact that many kids enter the school system with "pretty poor dental health," the state does not require dental checkups. Karen Maiorca, director of nursing for the Los Angeles Unified School District, said the problem is "tremendous," noting, "There aren't a lot of resources for dental care, and the costs are usually quite expensive." Health officials also hope to find dentists willing to devote time for free checkups at county schools. Kathryn Barger, Supervisor Mike Antonovich's health deputy, said, "We found there are doctors willing to go into schools once every month for screenings. We have to start a wave of getting services into the schools." A U.S. Surgeon General report recently revealed that California children suffer from tooth decay at twice the rate as kids nationwide (Risling, Los Angeles Times, 6/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.