One Dentist in Three Accepts Medicaid (video)

Two-thirds of dentist respondents do not accept Medicaid payments, this survey found.

General dentists are three times as likely to accept Medicaid as are specialists. In addition, the majority of rural dentists do accept Medicaid, whereas most of their urban and suburban colleagues do not.

“I don’t treat these patients for the money,” said a Rhode Island orthodontist. “I treat them because they are children who need orthodontic care that may influence the rest of their lives. A healthy smile may open the world to them! That’s what we went into this profession for.”

A Minnesota pediatric dentist agreed: “It is an ethical and moral obligation to see these people. It is embarrassing that more of our colleagues do not treat some portion of this population in need.”

“Any dentist would have to be NUTS to accept Medicaid,” offered a Florida dentist. “If you are even suspected of impropriety, say by a disgruntled employee, the Feds can SHUT YOU DOWN. Yes, on suspicion only! They can freeze your assets and shut your practice down. It could be years before you get due process. The risks are truly tremendous. And it’s for a pittance, for pennies on the dollar. I know of one dentist who is in JAIL and lost his license over $8000 in clerical errors over a period of five years! I wouldn’t accept Medicaid if they offered DOUBLE my fees.

Read more: Dentists Avoid Medicaid

Warning: Dentists in Texas Should Use Internet Dental Marketing

Warning: Dentists in Texas Should Use Internet Dental MarketingWhile direct mail marketing doesn’t even come close that of Internet dental marketing, there are still dentists who prefer it as a method to market new dental patients.

Lord Dental in Fort Worth Texas probably wishes they had gone the Internet dental marketing route after resident Jill Dominguez received their mail piece and thought it was a scam.

The mail piece outlined the upcoming changes for children enrolled in the Texas Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program and how they will be managed after March 1st. It included an advertisement for the services of dentist Leyla Lord.

Upset, Jill Dominguez wrote to Dave Lieber, the watchdog reporter for the Star-Telegram. She stated, “Nowhere on these forms does it say ‘solicitation’ or ‘advertisement’ or any such thing.” Dominguez felt the mailing could be a violation.

Lieber contacted Stephanie Goodman, a spokeswoman for the Texas health commission who told him,“Our rules do limit direct marketing for health plans and providers, and this mailing violates that rule. We’ve contacted this dental office to let them know. The state rules that apply to our managed-care organizations and providers are new territory for dentists, so the dental office may not have been aware of these rules.”

Goodman further states that, “Direct marketing is defined as marketing that targets an individual. It’s someone calling you, knocking on your door or sending a mail out directly to you. Direct marketing doesn’t include radio, TV or print ads because the audience there is broader. When someone hears a radio ad, they know that the ad wasn’t meant specifically for them.”

The state then contacted Lord’s dental practice after Dominguez’s complaint.

It turns out dentist Leyla Lord’s husband is an attorney and he responded to the claim that Lord’s dental practice was using direct mail marketing for advertising her dental practice by saying, “The mailings blanketed the 76103 ZIP code as a way to alert his wife’s patients and others in the neighborhood about the change (when Texas moves to a managed-care system).”

In response to Watchdog Leiber’s quote of the Texas law, that a dental practice “shall not conduct any direct contact marketing except through enrollment events,” Lord’s husband pointed out the ridiculousness of the “direct contact” statement and asked what it means.

I guess it means you better be careful what you mail to your dental patients in Texas. Stick with Internet dental marketing. It’s safer.

Read more here: Fort Worth dentist’s mailing opens a whole can of worms

Utah Tries (and Fails) to Slash Medicaid Payments to Dentists

Cutting costs: Utah dentists get less from MedicaidLucky for Utah dentists, a federal agency has vetoed Utah’s plan to slash Medicaid payments to dentists.

While the state’s dentists received a one-time 24% pay raise in 2008, Utah lawmakers recently reversed that. (And the dentists didn’t get their 4.5% cost-of-living raise either.)

Understandably, Utah’s dentists objected… and so did the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which rejected the plan on the grounds that it would make accessing services even more difficult for dental Medicaid patients – particularly kids seeking a pediatric dentist – not to mention seniors in need of false teeth.

Utah’s Medicaid program will now have to scramble to cut other programs, as the 2010 budget relied on cutting dentist payments by $1.4 million.

Read more: Feds reject Utah’s low Medicaid pay for dentists

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