Virginia expanded dental coverage under Medicaid — but not enough dentists accept it

Lillian Hamilton, a Virginia Medicaid enrollee and 21-year-old tattoo shop manager from Hampton Roads, is still trying to get her wisdom teeth removed after years of living with a constantly swollen jaw, the pain from which has resulted in multiple visits to the emergency room.

Hamilton said every time she tries to schedule an appointment with a dentist who can give her a referral for an oral surgeon, she’s denied because providers either aren’t accepting new patients or don’t take Medicaid.

“I have probably called over a hundred dentists,” said Hamilton. “And every time I’ve called, multiple times, they’ve always been like, ‘No, we don’t accept this. No, we can’t take you.’”

A shortage of Virginia dentists who accept adults on Medicaid is the main factor why enrollees like Hamilton are struggling to find care, said Justin Gist, dental program manager for the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services, the agency tasked with overseeing the state’s Medicaid program.

Source: Virginia expanded dental coverage under Medicaid — but not enough dentists accept it / Virginia Mercury

3 Responses

  • The real question is why they do not accept it. Government insurances have the lowest reimbursement rate and the most ridiculous rules. I used to accept state insurance as a way to give back to the community because growing up, My parents would not have the means to grant us private insurance had we been born here in the US. However, as a business we lost so much money in doing so to a point where it no longer make financial sense. So we quit seeing Medicaid. You see, it is not that we do not want, the government is pinning his citizens against medical providers without acknowledging their shortcomings. That is so wrong!!!

  • There is a definite need for increased fee’s in Medicaid. Staff Salaries, supplies, rents, ewuipment, and other variables have all increased significantly over the past few years. Medicaid fee’s have been locked for nearly 15 years. This makes it harder and harder to see these patients, with these embarrassingly low fee’s. A fee increase is desperately needed for dentists to keep treating the children of Texas safely. California just increased their fee’s significantly. What can we do as a group to push higher reimbusrsement for the treatment of the children of Texas.
    I would love to be involved. I know the state dental association is working on this, but we need to be doing more.

  • We need to be making a case for higher Medicaid fee’s for treating the children of Texas. The fee’s have remained the same, despite crazy increases in supplies, equipment, technology, rents, taxes, staff and salaries.
    What else can we do to appeal to the state, to move the needle that has been frozen, and rusted in place for now 15 years. This is a great area for the reform crew to address. Diane at the Texas Dental association is fighting for high reimbursement, but is there more we can do as a group to also fight for some better dental treatment.

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