Strengthening the Dental Safety Net for Adults
Washington’s dental safety net for adults needs substantial investment in order to translate the successful treatment outcomes we have achieved in our dental safety net for children. The 2014 restoration of Adult Dental Medicaid to 2010 funding levels was a significant boost for community health centers, dental residency programs, and the University of Washington School of Dentistry. However, dental Medicaid pays dentists in private practice approximately 25 cents on the dollar for providing care to Medicaid-eligible adults. Inconsistent and chronically low funding for adult dental Medicaid incentivizes a system where dental issues are only treated when they become emergent and more costly; preventive dental care which can improve oral and overall health is sacrificed. WSDA supports efforts to bolster the dental safety net for adults including dental residency programs, enhanced provider reimbursement rates, and funding for patient navigation and care coordination.