More dentists needed to serve Medicaid patients

The state’s victory this year in finally getting lawmaker approval to provide nearly 85,000 adults on Medicaid basic dental benefits will be short-lived if it can’t find more dentists like Chris and Derek Blackwelder.

The two are among the approximately 16 percent of New Hampshire dentists who take Medicaid, a percentage some oral health advocates say needs to at least double to truly expand access to dental care.

“It’s going to be a challenge,” said Michael Auerbach, executive director of the New Hampshire Dental Society. “We’ve passed the bill, which is fantastic. It’s taken us decades to get this through. Now the real work comes.”

For the Blackwelders, their commitment to public service, which they’ve prioritized since working with American Indians after dental school, outweighs the downsides of taking on Medicaid patients: the tedious paperwork, low reimbursement rates, and challenges caring for a population with significant health issues and difficulty showing for appointments.

Source: More dentists needed to serve Medicaid patients / Concord Monitor

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