Tag Archives: dental clinic

Closure of struggling Arizona clinic highlights challenges for low-income dental patients

Photo by via Ace Armstrong  Flicker.

Photo by via Ace Armstrong Flicker.

Getting dental care was already hard for low-income adults in Arizona.

Now officials in Coconino County have reluctantly announced their decision to close a dental clinic that has long served the poor and uninsured.

County officials say they are considering a plan to provide vouchers so patients can seek care elsewhere. But there is no guarantee the voucher program will be in place by the time the clinic closes on Sept. 30.

And other questions remain: What services will be covered by the vouchers? Which dentists will accept them? Continue reading

Potential billing abuse by Medicaid dental providers a fertile area for coverage

Once the ACA covers children's dental care, will parents drop their dental insurance?

Photo by ianus via Flickr

An estimated 8 percent of Medicaid dental providers in California submitted questionable bills to the program during one recent year, a recent federal report concluded.

Half of the dentists whose bills raised concerns worked for dental clinic chains.

The findings are the latest in an unfolding examination of Medicaid dental billing practices led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Continue reading

Tulsa reporter shares lessons from ongoing coverage of dentist

Shannon Muchmore

Shannon Muchmore

As many of you know, it can be hard following an ongoing story – keeping up with the latest developments, looking ahead and staying ahead of the competition, finding the larger stories and putting it all into context.

Shannon Muchmore of The Tulsa World has been doing just that since the end of March, reporting on an investigation into a dentist whose clinics have been cited for multiple violations, many related to unsanitary practices. Hundreds of patients are being tested for HIV and hepatitis and officials say as many as 7,000 patients may have been exposed since 2007.

Amid a steady stream of stories, she took the time to share some of her insights into the complexities of the unfolding drama, including how her daily work life has changed, the level of risk faced by patients and some tips for other reporters.

Coverage of Tulsa dental clinics’ violations has been cautious

Health officials in Oklahoma are working to test patients of two dental clinics for hepatitis and HIV, after an inspection turned up lax sanitation practices and other violations of the state’s Dental Act.

Shannon Muchmore

Shannon Muchmore

Shannon Muchmore of The Tulsa World has been covering the story, which has gone on to get worldwide coverage, with a steady stream of stories for the past month.

While getting out the latest news, offering descriptions of the lines of people waiting to get tested and exploring the fears of some of the 7,000 patients who state officials say may have been exposed – including one man who believes he contracted HIV while getting a tooth extracted at one of the clinics – Muchmore also has been careful to sound a cautionary note about the intricacies of tracing the bloodborne diseases back to their source. Continue reading