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Wednesday
Jan042012

Medical Teams International Treats 200,000th Dental Patient

In late 2011, Medical Teams International (MTI) treated its 200,000th dental patient in the U.S with an estimated value of $60 million in free dental care. With the help of volunteer dentists, hygienists, Expanded Function Dental Auxiliaries, and assistants, MTI staffs 11 mobile dental vans throughout Washington and Oregon. The program serves more than 17,000 patients a year and provides more than $8 million in free services annually.

"The Washington State Dental Association congratulates Medical Teams International and its dental team volunteers on treating their 200,000th patient" says WSDA President Dr. Rodney Wentworth. "By partnering with volunteer dentists, social service agencies, and religious organizations, MTI has created a sustainable model that provides dental care to the most vulnerable throughout the Northwest."

MTI dental vans, staff and volunteers provide ongoing dental care at 54 locations throughout Western and Southeastern Washington. At each location, a local partner screens patients for need and makes referring appointments to the next scheduled visit of the dental van.

MTI reached the 200,000th patient milestone after 20 years of work, but based on current volume, it will take less than 10 years to treat the next 200,000 patients. To learn more about MTI or to become a volunteer go to http://www.medicalteams.org/sf/what_we_do/dental_program.aspx.

Monday
Jan022012

Why WSDA Opposes Dental Therapists and HB 1310

WSDA Opposes H.B. 1310 from WA State Dental Association on Vimeo.

The Washington State Dental Association remains opposed to HB 1310. In Washington state, the dental therapist model is unsustainable without government subsidy and drains limited financial resources away from proven dental safety net programs. HB 1310 also creates unnecessary risks to the safety of dental patients. Watch our short video to learn more.

WSDA Opposes H.B. 1310 from WA State Dental Association on Vimeo.

Wednesday
Dec282011

Save the Date! The Pacific Northwest Dental Conference (PNDC) is June 14-15.

This will be the Conference's last year in Seattle. For over 100 years, the PNDC has brought the State's dental professionals to Seattle to learn, shop, and network

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec202011

Special Session Wrap-Up

This fall, Governor Christine Gregoire called the Legislature into a special session to address a  projected $2 billion dollar shortfall in the current biennium (2 year) budget for the general fund. In response, the Legislature compiled a supplemental budget package with nearly $480 million in budget cuts as a "down payment" on entirely closing the budget shortfall during the 2012 regular session. Cuts in the supplemental budget include workforce reductions, delaying payments to school districts, and transferring $83 million in unused funds from the last biennium back into the general fund. The special session budget package did not include further cuts to dental Medicaid funding, the UW School of Dentistry, or any other dental related programs. While the $480 million in cuts reduces the budget shortfall, more work will need to be done during the 2012 regular session.

Difficult budgetary decisions still remain and further cuts to the dental safety net and the dental school will be up for discussion. Here's a list of dental programs that will be discussed:

  • Eliminating non-emergent dental care for the remaining patient populations in the adult dental Medicaid program. These patient populations include adults with developmental disabilities, pregnant women, and long-term care patients. (Approximately $8 million)
  • Eliminating the enhanced fee for the UW School of Dentistry DECOD (Dental Education in Care of Persons with Disabilities) program. DECOD receives this enhanced fee because the program trains dental students how to provide treatment for the DD population. The DECOD program cannot continue to operate without this enchanced funding. (Approximately $700,000)
  • Eliminating the Volunteer/Retired Provider Malpractice Insurance (VRP) program. The VRP program pays the malpractice insurance and licensure costs for retired health care practitioners who only provide uncompensated care at free clinics, community health centers, and other charitable clinics. Approximately 100 dentists and dental hygienists participate in the program along with another 600 health care practitioners. (Approximately $220,000)
  • Reductions in the reimbursement rates for some or all of the dental procedures in dental Medicaid may be considered. These reductions would likely be made at the agency level to close an agency budget shortfall.

WSDA will continue monitoring all state budget activity and provide updates as they develop. Please contact bracken@wsda.org with any questions.