Dental care coverage under Medicaid is problematic. Since “dental care is placed outside the scope of overall health care,” very minimal funds are delegated towards preventive dental care in favor of emergency services. Consequently, ER visits due to dental issues are becoming more common; this is problematic since emergency services are much more expensive and generally ineffective for solving dental problems. For example, if a patient makes an ER visit due to pain from a tooth abscess, the clinic or hospital can only prescribe antibiotics or painkillers, which does not treat the cause of the abscess. A trip to the ER costs the Medicaid patient little to nothing, but costs the medical industry thousands of dollars. However, because Medicaid spends so much money on emergency care, it cannot afford to reimburse dentists for preventive care.

 

Since Medicaid reimburses private practice dentists very minimally, dentists are hesitant to accept Medicaid patients. The majority of dentists feel that health care reform thus far has only made the system more bureaucratic; “[it] doesn’t increase dental access but does increase certain Medicaid requirement for providers.” Providers are forced into more paperwork and regulation, but are compensated less than the cost of care. Until there is true reform, Medicaid patients will continue to receive improper care while costing health care industry more money.

 

Article Reference:

http://www.yakimaherald.com/news/2328663-8/medicaid-rates-at-root-of-dental-care-problems

Comments (1)

  1. Nick Galles

    Reply

    What sort of changes could help with these issues? Personally I believe that dentistry should stay privatized rather than allowing Medicare to cover it. Government control over medicine has led to major issues since they are not medical experts. Dentistry should stay as a privatized industry, because it is not necessarily a born right to receive dental care unlike health care. Most dental issues can be avoided by simple dental care, which can increase through education. In response to the ER treatment costing thousands of dollars; if the patient is only receiving pain pills then how is it costing the hospital thousands of dollars? The government control of the health care system has created devastating consequences for both doctors and patients, and I really hope that dentistry is not forced in the same direction.

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