La. has too few dentists for its residents

By June 27, 2013 December 1st, 2013 No Comments

Louisiana has one of the worst dentist shortages in the country, according to a new national report released Tuesday, only days before the state will slash its Medicaid reimbursement rates for dental care. affordable dental implants london

The analysis, released by the nonpartisan Pew Charitable Trusts, says more than 24 percent of Louisiana’s population is underserved by dentists and living in an area with a shortage of dentists, second only to Mississippi and tied with Alabama.

In addition, nearly 42 percent of Louisiana’s dentists are over 55 years old and nearing retirement, which could worsen the shortage, the study says.

best cosmetic dentist london The findings come as the state Department of Health and Hospitals is cutting reimbursement rates paid to dentists through the government-funded Medicaid program with the July 1 start of the new budget year, a move that dentists say will shrink access to services…DHH Secretary Kathy Kliebert said the 3-percent cut to the rates dentists are paid for taking care of Medicaid patients, mostly children, is a mild decrease to spending on dental care that shouldn’t cause dentists to stop offering the care to the poor.

“It’s a very minor reduction, and it still puts us ahead of our neighboring states in terms of the rates for most services,” she said.

But those neighboring states also are listed by Pew as high shortage areas….

Pew says that without early access to dental care, affordable cosmetic dentistry london people are more likely to face preventable, but serious dental conditions that require more costly emergency room care.

Louisiana’s $2.8 million budget reduction for Medicaid payments to dentists comes on top of recent cuts reaching 14 percent for the most frequently billed procedures, according to the Louisiana Dental Association….She said 30 percent of children in Medicaid received dental care in the 2007-08 fiscal year, compared to 43 percent four years later. She noted that the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ranked Louisiana in April as one of the top 10 states for improved access to preventive dental care for Medicaid children. best implant dentist london

Donaldson fought for years to boost reimbursement payments to attract more dentists to the program, specifically to treat children. He said increased services are because the payment rates had grown and persuaded more dentists to take Medicaid patients.

But Donaldson said that with current payment levels before the looming cut, dentists only get paid about half of what they receive for patients with private insurance….read more


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