Maine lacks dentists accepting Medicaid in face of increased demand: 5 notes

More dentists who accept Medicaid are needed in Maine as the state struggles to keep up with an influx of patients under the program, Maine Beacon reported Aug. 9. 

Five notes: 

1. Maine added preventive dental care for nearly 220,000 low-income adult Medicaid residents in July 2021. 

2. Lawmakers over the last two years also allocated $700 million in federal and state funds toward boosting low reimbursement rates, but the state continues to suffer from a lack of providers, including dentists and hygienists, particularly in rural communities. 

3. The number of dental professionals in rural communities has struggled to grow due to low reimbursement rates and challenges recruiting and retaining talent in rural areas.

4. Fifteen of Maine's 16 counties have areas with a shortage of dentists, according to data from the Pew Charitable Trust, a public policy organization. 

5. Maine's dental workforce shortages are part of a larger trend, with 60 percent of designated dental health professional shortage areas in the U.S. being located in rural communities.

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