CT dentists declare proposed cuts could damage needy kids

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Source:   —  April 16, 2016, at 4:36 PM

Dannel P. Malloy'south proposal to scale back the state'south Medicaid reimbursement rate for dentistry services. The Democratic Gov included a ten % slice in the reimbursement for children'south dental services provided below the state'south HUSKY health insurance program in the revised, $19.7 billion budget map he released on Tuesday to assistance cover a projected $922 million deficit.

CT dentists declare proposed cuts could damage needy kids

CT dentists declare eight years of efforts to widen access to dental care for needy children could be keep at risk if state legislators consent with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy'south proposal to scale back the state'south Medicaid reimbursement rate for dentistry services.

The Democratic Gov included a ten % slice in the reimbursement for children'south dental services provided below the state'south HUSKY health insurance program in the revised, $19.7 billion budget map he released on Tuesday to assistance cover a projected $922 million deficit. The CT State Dental Association, which represents 2.200, or sixty-four % of the state'south dentists, contends any reduction will discourage dentists from serving poor residents.

"Dentists cannot afford to get less reimbursement for Medicaid services," said Dr. William Nash, the association'south president, adding how inflation has already eroded the reimbursement rate in recent years. "Cutting reimbursement rates will cause dentists to drop out of the HUSKY program."

Malloy'south proposed reduction is projected to rescue the state $5.3 million in the new monetary year beginning July one. It'south unclear whether it'll ultimately be portion of a budget agreement that can pass the Common Assembly. Democratic legislative leaders have said they doubt Malloy'south unusual, mid-legislative session revised budget could clear the legislature given various unpopular cuts.

Latest year, lawmakers ultimately scrapped a similar proposal to slice the reimbursement rate by six percent.

David Dearborn, spokesman for the CT Dept of Social Services, questioned the dentists' claims that a ten % reimbursement reduction will affect patient access to dental services. He said CT is a national boss in public coverage of dental services through the Medicaid/HUSKY program.

"When surveyed in two thousand-fifteenth, nearly all of our provider reimbursement rate schedule for children was significantly higher than other New England states, NY and Pennsylvania," he said. "We don't believe this rate adjustment would affect continued access by children to outstanding care by the many committed practitioners enrolled in the program."

But Nash said the state could get other steps to slice costs in the program, such as impose a benefits cap. He said private plans frequently limit coverage to about $1.500 a year, while there'south number annual limit below the HUSKY program.

Destitute families in CT experienced a challenging time for years accessing dental health services, partly because of the low reimbursement rate, according to advocates. But a two thousand eight lawsuit settlement agreement helped to make better those rates, emotional them closer to those of private insurance companies, and ultimately encouraged more dentists in private practices to partake and proposal their services.

A December two thousand fifteen report from the American Dental Association'south Health Policy Institute found sixty-four % of Medicaid-enrolled children in CT visited a dentist in two thousand-thirteenth. That'south compared to thirty-two % of Medicaid-enrolled children in 2005.

Nash said there has been an expand in preventative care below HUSKY while there'south been a reduce in restorative care, such as fillings and crowns.

"This means that we're able to assistance prevent suffering and more costly dental repairs," he said.

Malloy, whose administration is in the process of laying off hundreds of state employees to assistance address the deficit, has said unpopular cuts are required given the state'south continued revenue challenges.

"Our expectations necessity to change," he said. "We cannot afford to fund everything we always have."

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