Letters to the Editor

Medicaid doesn’t entirely work for private dentists

Of course, I agree with most of the Dec 12 editorial decrying Medicaid fraud. However, I disagree with part of a closing statement that said “Medicaid works only if everyone plays by the rules.” Medicaid doesn’t entirely work. Not in private practice general dentistry.

Medicaid reimbursements pay only about 1/4 to 1/3 of the overhead costs of running a general dental office. That means we subsidize (pay out) much more to see Medicaid patients, compared to what DSHS pays us. They operate on old limits which have been set by the Legislature. Medicaid dental might not lose as much money for a dentist if multiple procedures are done with sedation, such as with pediatric dentistry or oral surgery.

Also, community clinics somehow get a per-visit fee that seems to pay more than the actual procedures. We have always strived to do our community duty by seeing some Medicaid patients. We plan to continue seeing our existing Medicaid patients, but have recently stopped taking any more. Affordable care might not be affordable for providers.

Stephen L. Kirkpatrick DDS PLLC