OHDS - Maternal, Child & Adolescent Health Dental

The Title V Maternal, Child & Adolescent Health (MCAH) program is a federal-state partnership to ensure the health of mothers, women, children and youth, including children and youth with special health care needs. The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) contracts with private/non-profit and public agencies throughout the state to implement the state’s MCAH program. All 99 Iowa counties are included.

Maternal, Child & Adolescent Health (MCAH) contract agencies are responsible for ensuring access to oral health services, with an emphasis on early intervention and preventive oral health care beginning at or near the age of 12 months and into adulthood. Oral Health Center staff oversee the I-Smile program for children and pregnant women.

Through the core public health functions of assessment, policy development and assurance, contract agencies should work to develop comprehensive oral health service systems by:

  • Building public health services and systems
  • Providing enabling services to assure access to dental care
  • Providing gap-filling direct dental services

Maternal Health

Because the health of pregnant women directly impacts the health of newborn infants, I-Smile activities also include focus on clients of the Maternal Health (MH) programs, to assure access to dental services, education, and gap-filling preventive services. All MH contract agencies are required to provide dental care coordination and referrals to assure access to dental services for pregnant women. Education and gap-filling preventive services may also be offered as part of the comprehensive prenatal health services.

Child & Adolescent Health

Title V Child & Adolescent Health (CAH) agencies strive to improve access to dental care for children through ongoing care coordination. This includes educating families about good oral health, assisting families with scheduling dental appointments, assisting families with finding a payment source and transportation to the appointment, providing translation services, and reminders about follow-up of dental appointments and other services.

The Title V CAH agencies receive funding specifically dedicated to oral health. The dental funds may be used to build public health services and systems through local oral health infrastructure and/or to provide basic dental services to uninsured and under-insured children.

Dental services may be provided through referrals to dentists who agree to provide limited restorative and preventive care to the child health clients. Reimbursement to dentists is based on the Medicaid (Title XIX) fee schedule. To be eligible for these funds, a child cannot be eligible for the Medicaid program, must be uninsured or under-insured for dental care, must be enrolled as a Title V child health client, and the child's family income must meet the guidelines established by Iowa's Title XXI program.

Dental services may also be provided through dental hygienists who are employed or contracted by the Title V CAH agencies. Services may include oral screenings and fluoride varnish applications, and are often provided at WIC clinics and in Head Start classrooms. Medicaid reimburses Title V CAH agencies for preventive dental services provided by a dental hygienist to Medicaid-enrolled children, ages 0-20.

Additional information on the Title V MCH programs is on the Bureau of Family Health web page.