Archive for Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Budget cuts mean elimination of dental benefits to thousands of elderly, disabled Kansans

September 8, 2010


— Cuts in dental benefits for elderly, poor and disabled Kansans have been devastating, social service advocates said Wednesday.

“Not only is there the financial cost, but there is also a human cost when people need dental care but cannot find a dentist that can provide services,” said Connie Hubbell, director of governmental affairs for the Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved.

The House-Senate Oversight Committee on Home and Community-Based Services was meeting to review the impact of recent budget cuts.

In 2007, the state started funding basic dental care for thousands of Kansans who were elderly or had physical or developmental disabilities and received assistance through programs designed to allow people to continue living in their homes. But those services were eliminated in January because of budget cuts.

Tanya Dorf Brunner, executive director of Oral Health Kansas, and others said that has meant many people either aren’t getting care or are going to more expensive emergency rooms for help.

Brunner told of two cases in Douglas County where women were getting the care they needed before the budget cuts but not anymore. One of the women, who has developmental disabilities, cannot be treated without being sedated, but budget cuts have eliminated that option, she said.

Poor dental care can lead to other health problems, Hubbell said.

She also said that Kansas is experiencing a shortage of dentists. The lack of access to dental care is compounded by the fact that only 25 percent of dentists in Kansas accept Medicaid patients, compared with 80 percent of Kansas doctors, Hubbell said.

Committee Chairman Bob Bethell, R-Alden, said, “Dentists are not a very charitable group.” He said he has talked to dentists about the Medicaid issue. “They (dentists) say a lot of these folks don’t come in for their appointment, and that’s money out of my pocket.”

Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, said as the daughter of a dentist she had to defend the profession, but added there needed to be a survey done on why so many dentists refuse to treat Medicaid patients.

She said many dentists help the poor and uninsured through volunteer work.

Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, said perhaps the Legislature should consider proposals that would allow dental hygienists to do more procedures as a way to increase access to preventative dental care.


Maddy Griffin 7 years, 9 months ago

Medicaid doesn't pay as well as private insurance does, but doctors and dentists know that going in. The real problem is that the state doesn't pay on time so not only are you accepting a shortage but they are late on top of it.I've known many licensed mothers doing day car in their homes who had to give it up and get back into the workforce because they couldn't get paid on time.We thought we were helping welfare mothers get jobs while SRS paid for their daycare and ended up getting screwed by the state.

gbulldog 7 years, 9 months ago

I have dental insurance that pays only a small portion of my dental costs. (My total medical insurance including dental costs for my wife and I is $1,000 a month and is schedule to increase.) As a results of other medical costs and increased taxes, I can not afford to build a mega mansion like my dentist is doing or have a nice lake home like he has.

This part of the USA pays such low wages, if you can find a job, that we are preparing to leave Kansas. My wife who has a college degree, was laid off because of low business volume, my daughter, who has a college degree is working in a cafeteria. Both have sent out numerious resumes and cannot get an interview. Currently my wife is owed over $2,000 in unemployment benefits, but she can not receive payment because the State tell us they can not make the necessary programing changes..

As a result, we are having to use retirement savings to make survive. We have had to cut spending, decrease charitable giving, Wish I could go on a nice vacation to Spain or even "Martha's Vineyard" but that would be difficult because of the cost of obtaining a passport.

It sure look like we lhave been suckers for working all these years, paying taxes, and saving for a good retirement. Better to drop out of school, have kids out ot wedlock, party, smoke, dring and let welfare and charity take care of you. Why save for the future, because you will probably end up in a nursing home ($3,000 to*$8,000 a month). They will take your money and you will end up on welfare. I had several relative who were "well off", had good retirements" and ended up on welfare. It looks like a "Solient Green" type of future.

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