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Lt. Governor Brown Marks Seven Year Anniversary of Deamonte Driver’s Death

Brown highlights progress made to expand dental care to Maryland children and efforts to continue improving access

ANNAPOLIS, Md.– Today, Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown released the following statement in observance of the seventh anniversary of the passing of 12 year-old Prince Georgian Deamonte Driver. In 2007, because Driver’s mother could not afford insurance, what began as a problem that could have been solved with an $80 tooth extraction ended in a severe brain infection and the tragic death of a young man.

"Seven years ago, when Maryland families were shaken by the death of Deamonte Driver, we made a commitment to doing everything in our power to stop preventable tragedies like this from happening again," said Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown. "Every child deserves access to preventative care and, while we can’t bring Deamonte back, we have worked to honor his memory by expanding dental services to an additional 131,000 children in Medicaid since 2007. While we’re making great progress, there are still far too many Marylanders who don’t have access to basic preventive dental care. We must continue working together to ensure that all Marylanders get the quality care they need to lead a healthy life.”

In the wake of the tragic death of Deamonte Driver, the O’Malley-Brown Administration took immediate steps to increase access to high quality oral health services, especially in underserved areas. In addition to raising reimbursement rates for dentists treating Medicaid children, the Administration has continued to protect investments in the Office of Oral Health, which works to expand dental services in underserved areas of the State. Through the creation of a mobile school-based screening and treatment center called the Deamonte Driver Dental Van Project, the State has provided diagnostic and preventive services for thousands of children. In partnership with the federal government, Maryland launched “Healthy Teeth, Healthy Kids,” a statewide Oral Health Literacy Campaign. In part because of these and other collaborative efforts, the State saw a 41% reduction in the number of Maryland children with untreated tooth decay from 2001-2011