Kansas Dental Association announces new Medicaid 140 initiative

TOPEKA-- The Kansas Dental Association today launched a new initiative to increase participation in the Kansas Medicaid program in an effort to expand the services provided to Kansas children.  The voluntary program to increase the number of Medicaid participating dentists by 140 dentists coincides with the state dental organization’s 140th anniversary.
Dr. Hal Hale, President of the KDA is urging more dentists in Kansas to become Medicaid providers.  KDA’s goal for this volunteer program is to increase the number of dentists that accept and actively participate in the Medicaid program to better help supplement the charitable dental services already being delivered in the state.  The effort is designed to help address the needs of Kansas children served by the state’s Medicaid program.

“The Pew Report, released last year, estimated that each dentist provides $33,000 annually in free and reduced care.  In Kansas, it is estimated that dentists in the state provide $46.3 million in free and reduced care annually to the people of our state.  This charitable care is provided daily in dental practices, clinics and community settings,” Dr. Hale stated.  “And it is also provided each year during  our Kansas Mission of Mercy dental project where to date, we’ve served (approximately) 20,000 Kansans.  But those programs of charitable care – as impressive as the numbers are – just aren’t enough.  And that’s why we’re taking this additional step in helping address the oral health  needs of our state. “

“I do not make this request of dentists in Kansas lightly and let me assure you I would not ask others to do what I myself am not willing to do,” said Hale.  “I am a Medicaid provider and have found the process acceptable, though far from perfect.  And while the Medicaid dental program currently only covers children, we have introduced legislation to expand its services to adults who meet Medicaid eligibility guidelines.  And we are also hoping policymakers in Topeka can ease the administrative burdens that can be a barrier for some health care providers to participate.”

The KDA’s Medicaid 140 program will help supply Kansas with more dentists to provide needed care for Medicaid patients and will ensure that all patients benefit from the quality of care they deserve.

“The oral health needs of our state won’t be addressed by any one, single approach ,” Dr. Hale added.  “We will continue to look for ways to increase access without sacrificing the high standard of care that Kansans deserve.   In that regard, we are engaged in discussions with policymakers to increase the supply of licensed dentists in the state and to further identify and eliminate impediments to meet our state’s needs.  We appreciate the keen interest expressed and look forward to progress in the months and years ahead.”

For a video clip with Dr. Hale and more information go to www.ksdental.org/medicaid140.php

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