According to a recent report issued by the Pew Center on the “States Children Dental Campaign”, Massachusetts is ranking on the number one spot for the nation which offers the best affordable dental care to children. The state has received an A for the proper management of its public Medicaid program.
Massachusetts has lost a lawsuit in 2005, and ever since it is struggling to get back on tracks the situation of dental healthcare for kids who have Medicaid. In February, a federal judge has agreed strongly that the state has made a huge leap of improvement in this field.
The respective lawsuit has been filed by a group called “Health Care for All”, and this, according to chairwoman of “Better Oral Health for Massachusetts Coalition” has resulted in huge changes for the state. Dr. Catherine Hayes has been appointed by court to monitor the progress of the state in the healthcare field. According to her, the efforts of the state on making dental healthcare for kids better and more accessible are extremely visible.
The state has basically regulated the relationship between dentists and the Medicaid program. The lag times for payments have been drastically reduced, and dentists were basically allowed to choose how many patients with Medicaid they can serve. Before, they were required to either accept all Medicare patients or refuse treatment to all. As a result, the statistics show:
- In July 2005 – patients with Medicaid were treated
- In February 2011 – 2,100 patients have been served
This clearly means that with the new regulations brought by the state, the number of patients treated with Medicare has almost tripled. Last year, the state also empowered dentists to decide whether the children they see in schools need sealants in order to protect the crevices formed in teeth. The decision could be taken without a consultation being needed in prior. According to Hayes even such a small regulation has an immensely benefic effect.
The state has got to continue keeping up the good job, and expand the fluoridation system in the water supplies of the community and of course helping more adults to get proper dental coverage, according to Andy Snyder who is a researcher with the Pew Children’s Dental Campaign.