Dental dilemma: Dearth of Siouxland dentists taking on new Medicaid patients

SIOUX CITY — There are not enough hands to treat all of the dental pain in Siouxland, according to Dr. Ashley Huber.

Siouxland Community Health Center’s dental clinic, which Huber directs, prioritizes pediatric patients and has a limited number of slots reserved for emergencies. Huber said it’s not uncommon for adult Medicaid patients to trek to a local emergency room or urgent care center in hopes of having an abscess drained or obtaining pain medication.

“A lot of times, they give them the meds and they say you’ve got to find a dentist to take that tooth out. So, then, they’re calling us every day trying to get into one of those limited spots,” she said. “It’s frustrating for the patient. It’s frustrating for the doctors. It’s frustrating for us. It’s a frustrating situation all around.”

Fewer dentists nationwide are accepting Medicaid insurance, which covers millions of low-income Americans and is jointly funded by states and the federal government. The American Dental Association cites low reimbursement rates, administrative burdens, worries about complying with Medicaid regulations, and transportation challenges patients may face as reasons why dentists may be reluctant to treat Medicaid patients.

Source: Dental dilemma: Dearth of Siouxland dentists taking on new Medicaid patients / Sioux City Journal

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