Dentists lobby for higher Medicaid reimbursement rates

The phones at many dental offices across North Carolina have been ringing repeatedly in recent months with requests for oral health care from newly enrolled Medicaid recipients.

The state’s expansion of Medicaid benefits to nearly 600,000 low-income residents on Dec. 1 opened a robust array of services such as dental exams, routine cleanings and more complicated care for many people who previously had little access to a dentist because of the cost.

“The phone’s ringing off the hook,” said Robert Stowe, a dentist with Winston Smiles Dentistry in Winston-Salem.

One of those calls, Stowe said, was from a woman who had not been to a dentist in 15 years. She needed 12 teeth extracted, he added, and would need partial dentures made to fit between her remaining teeth. She was not yet 50 years old.

Some of the new patients have needed oral surgery. Because no oral surgeons in Forsyth County are taking any new Medicaid patients, Stowe said, he has to refer those clients to other counties.

Source: Dentists lobby for higher Medicaid reimbursement rates / WUNC 91.5

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