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ADA supports state-level dental involvement in Medicaid

December 14, 2015

By Michelle Manchir

Washington — The ADA House of Delegates in November at ADA 2015 – America’s Dental Meeting passed a resolution supporting greater dental communication among state dental Medicaid programs and dentists providing care to Medicaid-eligible individuals.

The Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations sponsored Resolution 85H-2015, which states that the ADA encourages “all state dental associations to work with their state Medicaid agency in hiring a Chief Medicaid Dental Officer, who is a member of organized dentistry.”

It also states that the ADA “encourages all state dental associations to actively participate in the establishment or continuation of an existing Medicaid dental advisory committee that is recognized by the state Medicaid agency as the professional body to provide recommendations on Medicaid dental issues.”

The resolution originated in the ADA Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relation’s Medicaid Provider Advisory Committee and the Association’s Action for Dental Heath, a campaign that encompasses eight community-based efforts, including Medicaid Reform. This campaign aims to provide care to people who suffer from untreated dental disease, strengthen and expand the public/privacy safety net and bring disease prevention and education into communities.

This initiative advocates for increased dental health protections under Medicaid, especially in states that have yet to agree to Medicaid expansion.

Dr. Sid Whitman, chair of the Medicaid Provider Advisory Committee and a pediatric dentist, said he has witnessed firsthand in New Jersey, his home state, how state dental association involvement in Medicaid “opens the line of communication” and helps entities learn from each other.

“You really have a nice mix of people who have the welfare of the clients as the centerpiece,” he said, adding, “If you’re not at the table, there’s no way to get things done.”

In New Jersey, the state’s Medicaid Dental Officer, who is a dentist, “is a liaison between state officials and the dental community,” Dr. Whitman said.

Find out more about the ADA Action for Dental Health by visiting ADA.org/Action.