Thursday, August 07, 2008

Dental benefits widen, waiting lines grow - The Boston Globe

Dental benefits widen, waiting lines grow - The Boston Globe:

Boston is fluoridated:

"Two years into the state's bold healthcare experiment, its early success in expanding dental coverage may be threatened by a shortage of dentists willing to treat newly insured patients.

"The problem is that just 17 percent of dentists statewide have been willing to see these newly insured patients, despite reforms intended to boost their ranks. Even some of these dentists are limiting the number of state-subsidized patients they will treat."

"As part of the healthcare law, the state changed a rule to encourage dentists to treat at least some patients covered by Commonwealth Care or its Medicaid program, called MassHealth. The old rules mandated that dentists who accepted even one subsidized patient had to accept all such patients. Now, the state allows dentists to limit the number of poor patients they accept. That has helped increase the number of practicing dentists who are willing to see poor patients from about 10 percent to 17 percent, according to a Globe analysis of public records.

Of that 17 percent, one in five have already closed their doors to new subsidized patients, said Dr. Catherine Hayes, a professor at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine."