AGD Medicaid funding

April 25, 2012
Academy of General Dentistry urges Congress to increase reimbursement rates.

CHICAGO, Illinois—The ABC program, World News With Diane Sawyer, aired a segment April 24, 2012, regarding the need to improve the oral health of underprivileged children on Medicaid, specifically in Florida.

The Academy of General Dentistry applauds this television program for bringing national attention to the lack of Medicaid funding available to treat children’s oral health. The AGD urges the U.S. Congress and state programs to increase the Medicaid money allotted for oral health care.

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“The need for improvement in the oral health of the underprivileged is a nationwide epidemic,” said AGD President Howard Gamble, DMD, FAGD.

“Dedicated dentists around the country are improving the oral health of Americans through volunteer outreach programs, but that is not enough. Reimbursement rates to dentists need to increase to cover the full cost of the services being provided to each patient.”

In addition to a proposed increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates, a 2008 position paper by the AGD, “White Paper on Increasing Access to and Utilization of Oral Health Care Services,” calls for greater efforts to improve oral health literacy and education, the expansion of water fluoridation, and loan forgiveness programs for dentists working in underserved areas.

“The underprivileged of America deserve quality care by adequately educated professionals,” said Dr. Gamble. “Good oral health is essential to maintain good overall health, and Congress should acknowledge that connection to ensure all Americans receive proper dental treatment.”

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