A dental health care alternative with teeth? (TX)

Access to health care is becoming problematic on many fronts. Here’s one important approach currently under consideration by the Texas Legislature.

From Watchdog Arena:

As the Texas Legislature studies measures to address the growing challenge of health care access, two bills specifically target dental provider shortages by creating new opportunity for dental hygiene practitioners (DHPs)– trained, mid-level providers working under a dentist’s supervision to provide restorative and routine dental services.

Dental care access is a problem for many Texans. According to the Texas Dental Access Coalition, 20 percent of Texas’ 254 counties have no dentists while 12 percent have only one. And to compound the problem, the next 10 years will see 37 percent of the state’s general dentists at or past retirement age.

In addition to an under-served patient base of about 4 million Texas adults and 1 million seniors needing immediate dental care, the Coalition also maintains that despite more than 3 million of the state’s children having Medicaid coverage, approximately one-third of Texas counties have no dentists participating in Medicaid.

This provider shortage creates additional costs as DHP proponents note 2013 brought 51,000 Texans with Medicaid coverage to emergency rooms for dental problems at a combined state/federal price tag exceeding $14 million.

Read more at Watchdog Arena.

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