Rhode Island dentists facing 'pending crisis': 6 notes

Rhode Island dentists and patients are facing several challenges that have led the state to reach a "tipping point," the Cranston Herald reported Nov. 29.

Six notes: 

1. The state is currently dealing with workforce shortages, stagnant reimbursements, increasing costs and rising demand for services.

2. Frederick Hartman, DMD, president of the Rhode Island Dental Association, told the news organization that the state is reaching a "tipping point," while adding that he is one of 22 oral surgeons in the state, compared to more than double the amount of oral surgeons who were in the state a decade ago. 

3. Dr. Hartman also said the state has one of the oldest populations of dentists in the U.S., with 47 percent of dentists age 55 or older. 

4. Aaron Guckian, the dental association's executive director, told the Cranston Herald that in addition to the state lacking a dental school, many dental hygiene students who graduate from the state's community college end up practicing in Massachusetts because they can make more money.

5. The state failed to pass a bill that would have established a medical loss ratio similar to what was passed in Massachusetts last year. 

6. Dr. Hartman said similar legislation is being considered for the state's next legislative session.

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