Minnesota Dental Association, Dental Access Partners urge senator to pass Medicaid dental reform

The Dental Access Partners and Minnesota Dental Association are urging state Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, to approve a proposal that would change the state's Medicaid dental program.

The Minnesota Dental Association represents over 3,000 dentists and dental students across the state, and Dental Access Partners is an advocacy partnership between three of Minnesota's critical access dental providers. The two organizations wrote to Ms. Benson regarding a dental proposal currently being negotiated between her, the House and the governor's office.

The organizations urged the senator to consider moving to a single or dual administrator for Medicaid dental programs. Citing a current lack of transparency and accountability for Medicaid dental reimbursements, the MDA and DAP believe a single administrator is the best way to ensure both the legislature and agency have better oversight.

Minnesota's Medicaid dental reimbursements are some of the lowest in the U.S., according to the letter. Administrative burden and being asked to subsidize cost of care are the main reasons providers refuse to participate in Medicaid, according to the MDA and DAP. Even with the critical access dental add-on, reimbursement is less than commercial rates, and current rates are based on submitted charges from 1989. The proposal would rebase reimbursements to align with current costs, which the two organizations said is essential to expand dental services for all providers.

"The time is now to make these very important changes; anything less are just band-aids for a broken system," the organizations concluded.

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