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Improving the physically handicapped oral hygiene

By Robert B.

While several factors contribute to the low use of physically handicapped oral hygiene services among low-income persons who have coverage for dental services, the major one is finding dentists to treat them.

Some physically handicapped people live in areas where dental providers are generally in short supply, but many others live in areas where dental care for the rest of the population is readily available. Dentists generally cite low payment rates, administrative requirements, and patient issues such as frequently missed appointments as the reasons why they do not treat more Medicaid patients.

Although many states have taken action to address these concerns, use remains low. Raising Medicaid payment rates for dental services, a step 40 states have taken recently, appears to result in a marginal increase in use but not consistently. As expected, states that paid higher rates relative to the average fees dentists charge were more likely to report increases in dental utilization. While 20 states use managed care to provide some dental services for Medicaid patients, state officials reported mixed results in terms of the extent to which this approach improves access. And although states have not yet evaluated the access to dental services under SCHIP, the majority of states have modeled their SCHIP dental services on their Medicaid programs and management and therefore expect to find similar utilization issues.

The most important thing is to make society aware of physically handicapped oral hygiene issues, so that we call can work to correct these injustices.

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