Dental care for kids who need itTexas Dentists for Medicaid Reform sponsored an anonymous, informal online survey of South Texas dentists recently.  TDMR was interested in the state of mind of dentists and particularly those that take Medicaid after a similar survey was done at a dental conference on South Padre Island in July.

Some very interesting results surfaced on the state of mind of Texas dental Medicaid providers.

Invitations to go to the online survey were sent out to 700 dentists with 62 responding. However, 77% of those were Medicaid providers and represents a much higher percentage of Medicaid providers than in the dentist population at large.

The following is what was found:

Future of Dentistry in Texas

The important finding is that the majority of dentists have a gloomy view of the future of dentistry in Texas. Some 25% were pessimistic and answered that they considered the future outlook to be poor for Texas dentists. The majority of 51.6% considered the future favorable but with concerns they felt needed to be rectified. Only 22.5% saw the future as bright or favorable without reservation for Texas dentists.

Most Serious Concern

The primary concern that 74.2% of the dentists singled out as the most serious was the reform of Medicaid which might be expected since the majority of those who took the survey were Medicaid providers. However 59.7% also indicated they wanted stronger association representation and 54.8% wanted to see law makers in Austin lobbied because they felt their concerns were not being represented.

For the Medicaid providers, what they wanted to see done to fix Medicaid was:

1. Simplify Medicaid reimbursement procedures (75.6%)
2. Increase provider rights (68.99%)
3. Increase reimbursement rates (64.4%)
4. Decrease regulation/Get rid of HMO’s (62.2%)

Comments Left by Dentists

Medicaid providers feel particular galled because 95.3% of them, when asked why they joined Medicaid, said they did so for altruistic reasons – to help kids and families – and now the system is hurting their practices and futures.

Comments left by many of the dentists provide insight into the tremendous upset they feel with Texas Medicaid and the enforcement actions and insurance changes that have occurred recently.

“All the negative media, particularly regarding medicaid providers and medicaid fraud by a small few has me concerned that major cuts and regulations will occur and I will have to close down in the near future.”

“Texas, in general, is in a good position within the dental field to meet the need of the growing population. Much of Texas’ population is needy and the current Medicaid system has doctors running and needs a complete overhaul.”

“Medicaid is NOW not about our children’s concern/benefit. It is about how much money can the insurance companies steal from the state and dentist by denying benefits to our children. Because of this, many dentists, like myself, are deciding to no longer participate in this scheme. Also, we are targets for criminal fraud by Medicaid ‘just because’.”

“I am appalled and very concerned with the recent attacks by Medicaid on our dental profession. These sinister actions, which I would categorize as rape, are unfair, demeaning and one-sided with a potential destructive result. It is evident that our children are being neglected by Medicaid since it’s focus is not geared at their best interest, but, the destruction of Medicaid dental providers. Who will be willing to treat our children with threats of incarceration?”

To download a PDF copy of the survey results, click here Survey Summary