Dental Resources for Individuals with Disabilities
D-Termined Program of Repetitive Tasking and Familiarization in Dentistry from the Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation
Access to Dental Care for People With Disabilities: Challenges and Solutions – A Report to Pennsylvania’s Legislators (In this report, DHI made seven recommendations to improve access to oral health care for those with disabilities. Several of these recommendations have come to fruition. For example, private insurance companies must now provide dental insurance payment for anesthesia for children under age five and people with disabilities. ACHIEVA spearheaded the campaign on providing oral health care for patients with disabilities by mailing DVDs to 8,300 practicing dentists encouraging them to care for those with disabilities.
In 2014, one more recommendation reached completion. Senate Resolution 2013-61 directed the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, a Joint Committee of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, to study and issue a report on the disparities found in dental care for Pennsylvanians with disabilities, both children and adults, and to make recommendations to preserve and improve such services. Electronic questionnaires were sent to all 8,100 dentists in Pennsylvania with active licenses; with an 8.5 percent rate of return 684 dentists responded. The finished report, Dental Services for People with Disabilities in Pennsylvania, was presented to the PA Legislature on February 24, 2015. ACHIEVA’s DHI will use the findings in this report and its proposed solutions to continue to advocate for oral health issues.
For example, one issue cited in this report is that Pennsylvania does fund dental services for adults through Medicaid, but the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services significantly scaled back the level of benefits in 2011. These scaled-back benefits do not apply to persons in nursing facilities or ICF/MRs, but do apply to other Medicaid-eligible Pennsylvanians with disabilities. For example, root canals and crowns are no longer covered for adults covered by Medicaid. There are benefit limit exception procedures but providers note they are too cumbersome and difficult to obtain. Another issue is the low Medicaid reimbursement rates cited as the reason why many dentists do not participate in the Medicaid program which leads to more difficulty for adults with disabilities to access services. To read the full LB&FC report go to http://lbfc.legis.state.pa.us.)