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HHS issues final recommendation for community water fluoridation

April 28, 2015 Comments off

HHS issues final recommendation for community water fluoridation
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today released the final Public Health Service (PHS) recommendation for the optimal fluoride level in drinking water to prevent tooth decay. The new recommendation is for a single level of 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water. It updates and replaces the previous recommended range (0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter) issued in 1962.

The change was recommended because Americans now have access to more sources of fluoride, such as toothpaste and mouth rinses, than they did when water fluoridation was first introduced in the United States. As a result, there has been an increase in fluorosis, which, in most cases, manifests as barely visible lacy white marking or spots on the tooth enamel. The new recommended level will maintain the protective decay prevention benefits of water fluoridation and reduce the occurrence of dental fluorosis.

Dental Caries and Sealant Prevalence in Children and Adolescents in the United States, 2011–2012

March 13, 2015 Comments off

Dental Caries and Sealant Prevalence in Children and Adolescents in the United States, 2011–2012
Source: National Center for Health Statistics

Key findings
Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2011–2012

  • Approximately 23% of children aged 2–5 years had dental caries in primary teeth.
  • Untreated tooth decay in primary teeth among children aged 2–8 was twice as high for Hispanic and non-Hispanic black children compared with non-Hispanic white children.
  • Among those aged 6–11, 27% of Hispanic children had any dental caries in permanent teeth compared with nearly 18% of non-Hispanic white and Asian children.
  • About three in five adolescents aged 12–19 had experienced dental caries in permanent teeth, and 15% had untreated tooth decay.
  • Dental sealants were more prevalent for non-Hispanic white children (44%) compared with non-Hispanic black and Asian children (31% each) aged 6–11.

CRS — Social Security: The Lump-Sum Death Benefit

July 25, 2014 Comments off

Social Security: The Lump-Sum Death Benefit (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

When a worker who is insured by Social Security and living with a spouse dies, the spouse is entitled to a lump-sum death benefit of $255. If there is no such spouse, the payment can be made to a surviving child who is receiving or is eligible to receive benefits based on the deceased person’s work. In the majority of deaths, however, no payment is made.

The death benefit used to be a more important part of Social Security, but the payment has been fixed at $255 for the past four decades, during which inflation has eroded its value. At the same time, the real value of other Social Security benefits has increased. Total federal spending on lump-sum death benefits is now about $200 million, only 0.03% of the total Social Security benefits.

Although the benefit was once linked to burial expenses and is sometimes still referred to as a “funeral benefit,” it no longer has any legal connection with funeral expenses.

Some proposals would have targeted the death benefit to those with the greatest need, increased the benefit, or eliminated it.

New From the GAO

June 13, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Partnerships and S Corporations: IRS Needs to Improve Information to Address Tax Noncompliance. GAO-14-453, May 14.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-453
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/663184.pdf

2. Defense Health Care: TRICARE Dental Services Contracts’ Requirements and Structure. GAO-14-497, June 13.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-497
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664091.pdf

Children’s Dental Care: Advice and Visits, Ages 2-17, 2011

April 28, 2014 Comments off

Children’s Dental Care: Advice and Visits, Ages 2-17, 2011
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

In 2011, 52.1 percent of children between the ages of 2 and 17 were offered advice from a doctor or other health provider about the need for routine dental checkups. In terms of actually receiving dental care, 50.5 percent of the children had at least one visit to the dentist during 2011.

Dental Care Coverage and Use: Modeling Limitations and Opportunities

January 17, 2014 Comments off

Dental Care Coverage and Use: Modeling Limitations and Opportunities (PDF)
Source: American Journal of Public Health

Objectives.
We examined why older US adults without dental care coverage and use would have lower use rates if offered coverage than do those who currently have coverage.

Methods.
We used data from the 2008 Health and Retirement Study to estimate a multinomial logistic model to analyze the influence of personal characteristics in the grouping of older US adults into those with and those without dental care coverage and dental care use.

Results.
Compared with persons with no coverage and no dental care use, users of dental care with coverage were more likely to be younger, female, wealthier, college graduates, married, in excellent or very good health, and not missing all their permanent teeth.

Conclusions.
Providing dental care coverage to uninsured older US adults without use will not necessarily result in use rates similar to those with prior coverage and use. We have offered a model using modifiable factors that may help policy planners facilitate programs to increase dental care coverage uptake and use.

New From the GAO

September 12, 2013 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Information Technology: Key Federal Agencies Need to Address Potentially Duplicative Investments. GAO-13-718, September 12.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-718
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/657791.pdf

2. Patriot Express: SBA Should Evaluate the Program and Enhance Eligibility Controls. GAO-13-727, September 12.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-727
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/657794.pdf

3. Dental Services: Information on Coverage, Payments, and Fee Variation. GAO-13-754, September 6.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-754
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/657455.pdf
Podcast: http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/657664

4. Federal Data Transparency: Opportunities Remain to Incorporate Lessons Learned as Availability of Spending Data Increases. GAO-13-758, September 12.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-758
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/657828.pdf

5. Sex Offenders: ICE Could Better Inform Offenders It Supervises of Registration Responsibilities and Notify Jurisdictions when Offenders Are Removed. GAO-13-832, September 12.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-832
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/657816.pdf

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