Photo: Dana via FlickrThe Swinomish Indian Tribal Community defends its recent hiring of a dental therapist as an act of tribal sovereignty, despite continued resistance from the dental community.
A recent news package in the Seattle Times detailed the challenges faced by poor Medicaid patients in seeking dental care.
Now members of the newspaper’s editorial board are calling for reforms they say would improve access to dental services in the state.
“Too many of Washington’s residents insured by Medicaid are not able to get the dental care they need, which endangers their general health as well,” they wrote in the editorial.
“Two simple things should be considered to improve the situation. The state could explore licensing dental therapists, who can provide limited basic services at a much lower cost than dentists,” the editors noted. “The other is to begin increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates, at least for certain patients, especially those at risk for costly health complications.” Continue reading
Last July, Brian Cladoosby, leader of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community in Washington, announced that his Puget Sound-based tribe was preparing to take a controversial step in an effort to address its longtime problems with tooth decay.
“We as Indians have long faced an oral health crisis and the crisis is only growing,” noted Cladoosby. “But there just aren’t enough dentists in Indian Country to address the crisis … That is why we are expanding the Swinomish dental team through the proven solution of training and employing dental health aide therapists.” Continue reading
In early 2014, a 4-year-old Dallas boy named Salomon Barahona Jr. died after undergoing sedation for a dental procedure.
The child’s death spurred Dallas Morning News reporter Brooks Egerton to embark upon what turned out to be a major reporting project – an 18-month investigation of dental safety in the United States.
Egerton sifted through thousands of records detailing patient harm and endangerment drawn from many sources: state and federal regulators, police, coroners, academic researchers, courts, litigators, insurers, dental schools and dentists themselves. Continue reading
States across the country have shown progress in getting more Medicaid-eligible children into dental chairs in recent years.
Meanwhile, poor adults in many areas continue to go without care. A new study concludes that while 95 percent of American adults value keeping their mouths healthy, low-income adults often fail to achieve it. Continue reading
In a recent seven-part series for the Dallas Morning News, investigative reporter Brooks Egerton explores dental treatments that have ended tragically and gaps in the enforcement system that is supposed to hold the nation’s dentists accountable.
The Deadly Dentistry series opens with the story of a 4-year-old Dallas boy, Salomon Barahona Jr., who died in early 2014 after undergoing sedation for a dental procedure. Continue reading