Delegate Mike McKay was recently named the 2019 Thomas “Mac” Middleton Rural Health Legislator of the Year by the Maryland Rural Health Association (MRHA). McKay was joined bySenator Thomas “Mac” Middleton, Senator Addie Eckardt and Lara Wilson, Executive Director of MRHA at an awards ceremony in Annapolis at the end of January.
“The Maryland Rural Health Association was honored to present the “2019 Thomas ‘Mac’ Middleton Maryland Rural Health Legislator of the Year Award” to Delegate Mike McKay for his proven ability to work with community members and organizations to understand rural health priorities and his commitment to working to address rural health needs, especially around oral health,” said Lara D. Wilson, Executive Director of the Maryland Rural Health Association.
The Maryland Dental Action Coalition joined with the Maryland Area Health Education Center Program (West) in nominating the two-term lawmaker for the annual award in recognition of his tireless efforts to secure an adult-dental benefit under Maryland’s Medicaid program.
Last year, Delegate McKay helped secure passage of legislation that established a pilot program for adult Medicaid dental coverage. In addition to improving oral health, a full adult dental benefit will save up to $4 million per year by diverting emergency department dental visits to dental offices where more appropriate and cost-effective care can be provided.
To build on last year’s success, Delegate McKay has sponsored legislation in the current legislative session that would create the Community Dental Clinics Grant Program. This program would provide state funding to support community dental clinics that would provide care under the pilot program established last year. The bill (HB322) has had a hearing in the House Health and Government Operations Committee and is awaiting a committee vote.
“Oral health and access to dental care is public health issue across the state, and especially in Maryland’s rural areas,” said Delegate Mike McKay. “I have been proud to work with the Rural Health Association, the Maryland Dental Action Coalition, the Maryland Area Health Education Center Program and many others to bring this issue to light and develop solutions that increase access to dental care for Maryland’s vulnerable citizens.”