The approaches vary from state to state, but the new year is bringing renewed efforts to broaden access to dental services to millions of Americans who have long lacked care.
In many places, the need is particularly acute among poor adults. Across America, roughly 38 million of them rely upon Medicaid for a broad range of health care benefits. But while children are entitled to dental care under Medicaid, adult dental benefits are considered an optional part of the program. Continue reading
Michigan has become the latest state to approve the use of mid-level dental providers — dental therapists — as part of an effort to expand oral health care to communities that have long lacked it.
Outgoing Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation authorizing the new provider model in late December.
In a statement, Snyder said that dental therapists would serve as “a unique tool to target the currently underserved populations in our state.” Continue reading
One recent workday, I called my primary care physician’s office and immediately was transferred to voicemail. Usually, I’m perhaps the “fifth caller in queue,” or on a lucky day, the second caller. That day — probably because it was a Monday in winter and people were kicking off their week by calling the doctor — the perky robot voice told me that I was the 14th caller. I hung up, determined to call again later. Continue reading
Hilton Head, N.C., might not be the first place that comes to mind when someone asks about social determinants of health. But obviously, behind the scenes of every rich sunset are the people who make the resorts run. And they need health care.
In Hilton Head, though, trouble is on the horizon in the form of concierge medicine, which threatens care access for people who can’t afford to pony up. Continue reading
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert
No sooner had we posted an update on the prospects for Medicaid expansion in several states, including the three that passed ballot initiatives in November, than news came of obstacles emerging in Utah.
The state legislature may take one or more of these actions: delay the April start; cover fewer people; add work requirements or other conditions. Continue reading
In recent coverage of a free dental care day for low-income Mainers, Portland Press Herald reporter Joe Lawlor explored some of the challenges that have shaped oral health access in the state.
As he noted in his piece, new Democratic governor Janet Mills is preparing to oversee an expansion of the state’s Medicaid program.