Sunday, May 5, 2013

Oral health care for the poor in Kentucky suffers under managed care as dentists leave Medicaid; how about your county?

Kentucky's serious oral-health problems are getting worse because fewer dentists are participating in the Medicaid program -- a result of "new paperwork issues compounding Medicaid's reputation" for low payments to providers, Laura Ungar reports for The Courier-Journal.

Ungar's source for that is Dr. Raynor Mullins of the College of Dentistry at the University of Kentucky, who told her that only 700 to 800 of the state's nearly 2,500 dentists, about 30 percent, accept Medicaid patients.

That makes now seem like a good time for journalists to ask their local dentists if they accept Medicaid -- and if not, why not; and if so, whether they are considering dropping it.

Ungar notes that 28 of Kentucky's 120 counties are deemed not to have enough dentists to serve the local population. Most if not all of them are rural. You can find out which counties are under-served by physical, dental or mental health providers at this federal Health Resources and Services Administration website.


  1. May also have a tiny bit to do with Medicaid clawing back payments for services rendered in prior years from oral surgeons. If reporters are looking for something else to write about, they should try this:

  2. A recent survey estimates that only 13.5 percent of Americans floss each day. It is vital that you keep up with your daily oral care, and see a dental professional for a thorough check-up twice a year so as to stop gum disease at its primary stage.