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Guide, webinar connects dentists with Medicaid resources

June 26, 2018

By Michelle Manchir

Dentists who are considering becoming Medicaid providers, or those who already are and need some guidance on the topic, can reference an ADA-developed website and no-cost webinar.

The ADA Medicaid Provider Reference Guide, compiled and regularly updated by the ADA Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention's Medicaid Provider Advisory Committee, contains information about Medicaid compliance, audits, the basics of recordkeeping, reducing barriers to Medicaid-eligible individuals seeking dental care and other topics relevant to current and prospective providers. Most recently, the committee updated the webpage with an educational tab addressing the use of silver diamine fluoride.

"Dentists should consider treating Medicaid patients because today on average 20 percent of the population is covered by Medicaid," said Dr. Sid Whitman, chair of the Medicaid Provider Advisory Committee. He added that, "Thirty-three percent of children are covered by Medicaid and at least 40 percent of the births last year were to Medicaid recipients. Therefore, for many dentists this is a potential source of business and revenue."

The webpage also includes a testimonial video featuring Dr. Howard Elson, a pediatric dentist in Pennsylvania, who describes his path to becoming a Medicaid dentist. When he started his career in western Pennsylvania, steel mills were thriving and most children had private insurance thanks to their working parents. But when the mills closed, many of them became welfare recipients, thus changing the patient demographics within his practices.

Shifting to a mostly Medicaid-providing practice, Dr. Elson said, "can be very rewarding emotionally, clinically and financially."

Those seeking more details can watch a no-cost webinar on the ADA website, co-authored by Dr. Whitman and colleagues. Maintaining Your Sanity and Practice Viability As A Medicaid Provider offers one hour of continuing education related to program integrity and provides insight on how to safeguard your practice while providing care to a growing population of Medicaid-eligible patients.

For more information about being a Medicaid provider, contact Dr. Steve Geiermann, ADA senior manager for Community Oral Health Infrastructure and Capacity for the Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention by email at geiermanns@ada.org.