Topic: Dentists bailing out on Medicaid
Joined Sat 08/06/11
Dentists bailing out on Medicaid orthodontics patients
DALLAS - Tens of thousands of Texas kids are getting fired -- as patients -- by their Medicaid dentists.
A boom in putting braces on poor children has now come to a screeching halt after a News 8 investigation and a change in state policy, and children from border to border are suffering the consequences.
Texas put braces on 80,000 Medicaid children in 2010, and at least 40,000 in 2011.
Now the state has realized it made a mistake, and has quit paying many clinics for treatment now underway (It usually takes about two years for a child's orthodontic treatment). Some of those dentists are telling Medicaid parents their children they won't be treated anymore. It's happening all over the state.
In Wichita Falls, one orthodontist simply closed his office and sent letters to patients. In Dallas, clinics are suddenly telling their patients they're no longer taking Medicaid. In El Paso, Sun Orthodontics, the largest biller in the state in 2010, is stopping treatment on Medicaid patients.
"You're halfway through my treatment, and you're just going to abandon my kid?" Erika Mendoza said.
In Dallas, Luz Velasquez, whose daughter just got her braces last fall, has been told the same thing by Straight Teeth Orthodontics. Although Imelda, Mrs. Velasquez' daughter, has been assigned to another clinic, her paperwork is stuck somewhere in between, and treatment is stalled.
Dr. John Roberts, the new director of Medicaid dental at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), promises all children will be taken care of.
"The message of HHSC is that no kid is going to be left untreated," Roberts said. "And we are not aware of any instances where that particular issue is not being addressed through proper channels."
The problem for many parents is trying to figure out what the proper channel is.
Some are being dismissed by their clinics. Others are told to go to other clinics. On top of that, the state began a new managed care system in March. Many families have been assigned to insurance providers, but they don't know who those providers are.
Maybe they should call it Mexicaid?
Edited by alleoops on Thu 08/09/12 02:33 PM
Joined Sun 06/08/08
Colored braces are a fad. Dentists are making big bucks ripping off tax payers.