MINNEAPOLIS, MN – The Minnesota Dental Association (MDA) supports the findings of a long-awaited report from the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) on dental access and reimbursement. The report was directed by the 2013 Minnesota Legislature in response to reduced patient participation in Minnesota Health Care Programs (MHCP).
The report discussed in great detail the barriers faced by dental providers serving MHCP patients. Most notably, the report concluded that low reimbursement rates and administrative complexity put an immense strain on the ability of providers to deliver oral health care services to public program patients. The report noted, for instance, that in 2010 less than half (47 percent) of adult MHCP participants had visited a dentist in the last year. Of even greater concern, the utilization rates for children has been decreasing over the past three years, dropping from 37 percent to 28 percent for those receiving preventive dental services; dental treatment rates dropped from 19 to 14 percent in the same period.
The MDA supports key recommendations in the report, namely:
- The legislature should increase base payment rates for dental services and refine the payment structure to encourage provider participation.
- The state should increase efforts to support a comprehensive adult dental benefit set.
- The state should adopt elements establishing a single administrator model for the administration of dental benefits under the Medicaid program. Such models have been successful in other states to help reduce complexity and reduce fraud/abuse.
“The MDA commends DHS for this comprehensive and insightful review of the barriers faced by MHCP patients and their providers,” stated Dr. Michael Perpich, MDA President. “The biggest issue in Minnesota has always been a broken government system, with inadequate funding to care for public program patients. Minnesota remains one of the lowest states in the nation, with a 30% reimbursement rate to dental providers.”
The MDA looks forward to working with stakeholders, the legislature, and DHS to enact these recommendations, which will help create and maintain an effective oral health delivery system.
The Minnesota Dental Association is the voice of dentistry in Minnesota, representing practicing dentists. It is committed to the highest standards of oral health and access to care for all Minnesotans. You can learn more at www.mndental.org.