The Wisconsin Dental Association is calling for changes in how the state reimburses its members for providing care to low-income patients.
A recent audit found an HMO-based reimbursement plan used in Southeastern Wisconsin is costing the state more than expected. As a result, fewer dentists are participating and Medicaid patients can't access care. The audit found a nearly 31-percent drop in the number of dentists accepting Medicaid patients over a five year period.
The HMO system is used in Kenosha, Milwaukee, Waukesha, and Racine counties. The rest of the state is on a fee-for-service reimbursement system for Medicaid dental patients.
Wisconsin Dental Association President Dr. Monica Hebl says the system needs to change, in order to make sure patients have access to care in a safe and high quality manner. Hebl says the state should increasing funding for dental care and pay dentists for services they actually provide.
State Medicaid program director Jason Helgerson says changes will be considered. However, Helgerson says the state budget crunch could put major reforms on hold.