Survey of Texas Dentists Shows Deep Dissatisfaction with Medicaid: Texas Dentists for Medicaid Reform

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A sample of dental Medicaid providers shows intense frustration and thoughts of a gloomy future for dentistry in Texas unless Medicaid is fixed

The primary concern that 74.2% of the dentists singled out as the most serious was the reform of Medicaid

An anonymous, informal online survey of south Texas dentists conducted on behalf of the newly-founded Texas Dentists for Medicaid Reform has provided some interesting results on the state of mind of Texas dental Medicaid providers. The online survey was developed after a similar one-on-one survey of 20 dentists was done at a dental conference on South Padre Island in July. Seven hundred dentists were invited to do the survey with 62 responding. However, 77% of those were Medicaid providers and represents a much higher percentage of Medicaid providers than in the dentist population at large. However, the opinions and sentiments among these showed very strong trends, similar to the ones found as a result of the South Padre survey.

The important finding is that the majority of dentists have a gloomy view of the future of dentistry in Texas. Some 25% were pessimistic and answered that they considered the future outlook to be poor for Texas dentists. The majority of 51.6% considered the future favorable but with concerns they felt needed to be rectified. Only 22.5% saw the future as bright or favorable without reservation for Texas dentists.

The primary concern that 74.2% of the dentists singled out as the most serious was the reform of Medicaid which might be expected since the majority of those who took the survey were Medicaid providers. However 59.7% also indicated they wanted stronger association representation and 54.8% wanted to see law makers in Austin lobbied because they felt their concerns were not being represented.

For the Medicaid providers, what they wanted to see done to fix Medicaid was:

1. Simplify Medicaid reimbursement procedures (75.6%)
2. Increase provider rights (68.9%)
3. Increase reimbursement rates (64.4%)
4. Decrease regulation/Get rid of HMO's (62.2%)

Medicaid providers feel particular galled because 95.3% of them, when asked why they joined Medicaid, said they did so for altruistic reasons – to help kids and families – and now the system is hurting their practices and futures.

Comments left by many of the dentists provide insight into the tremendous upset they feel with Texas Medicaid and the enforcement actions and insurance changes that have occurred recently.

“All the negative media, particularly regarding Medicaid providers and Medicaid fraud by a small few has me concerned that major cuts and regulations will occur and I will have to close down in the near future.”

“Texas, in general, is in a good position within the dental field to meet the need of the growing population. Much of Texas' population is needy and the current Medicaid system has doctors running and needs a complete overhaul.”

“Medicaid is NOW not about our children's concern/benefit. It is about how much money can the insurance companies steal from the state and dentist by denying benefits to our children. Because of this, many dentists, like myself, are deciding to no longer participate in this scheme. Also, we are targets for criminal fraud by Medicaid 'just because'.”

"I am appalled and very concerned with the recent attacks by Medicaid on our dental profession. These sinister actions, which I would categorize as rape, are unfair, demeaning and one-sided with a potential destructive result. It is evident that our children are being neglected by Medicaid since its focus is not geared at their best interest, but the destruction of Medicaid dental providers. Who will be willing to treat our children with threats of incarceration?”

More information on the survey and its methodology can be obtained by contacting the Texas Dentists for Medicaid Reform.

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Greg Ewing, President
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