Thursday, December 1, 2022

Play

Access to medication is key to HIV prevention, a Florida university uses a religious exemption to disband its faculty union, plus Nevada tribes and conservation leaders praise a new national monument plan.

Play

The House passed a bill to avert a crippling railroad strike, Hakeem Jefferies is chosen to lead House Democrats, and President Biden promises more federal-Native American engagement at the Tribal Nations Summit.

Play

The first-ever "trout-safe" certification goes to an Idaho fish farm, the Healthy Housing Initiative helps improve rural communities' livability, and a new database makes it easier for buyers and builders to find available lots.

Dental Reimbursements Could Improve Access for MN Kids

Play

Friday, January 14, 2022   

This month, Minnesota has raised state reimbursement rates for dentists who accept patients enrolled in the state's Medicaid program.

Groups working with families in need believe it will get more young children into a dentist's office.

Kraig Gratke, executive director of the Minnesota Head Start Association, said roughly 88% of the kids signed up for Head Start around the state are covered by the Medical Assistance (MA) program.

To meet federal requirements, Head Start has to help ensure families are getting annual dental care for their kids, but he acknowledged it is not always easy.

"In outstate Minnesota, there's just not a lot of dentists," Gratke pointed out. "And then, not a lot of dentists were taking MA because reimbursement wasn't high enough."

The state said it is addressing what many described as notoriously low rates. As part of a $61 million package adopted last year, all dentists will receive the same rates for the same services under Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare. In some situations, payment increases could reach 98%.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) said in 2019, more than 60% of Minnesota children living in poverty did not see a dentist.

Gratke suggested not having consistent dental care could end up being very disruptive to a child's development, especially if they're in need of serious care.

"It makes it very difficult to learn, to manage behavior," Gratke asserted. "It's very hard on little ones."

State officials say benchmarks for health plans are being applied to the new rate structure. This year, DHS wants at least 45% of public health program enrollees to have a dental visit. In 2024, the goal rises to 55%. If a managed-care organization cannot meet those benchmarks, the department said it will step in to provide direct dental coverage.

Disclosure: Minnesota Community Action Association Resource Fund contributes to our fund for reporting on Early Childhood Education, Health Issues, Housing/Homelessness, and Poverty Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
The gold dome on the Iowa Capitol has been gilded five times. The gold leaf covering the dome is 250,000th of an inch thick and is 23.75 karats. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

2022 was a banner year for women elected as governor. Nearly one-third of America's governors will be women next year, which is a record. Iowa …


Environment

Residential water rates in Michigan are soaring, with an estimated one out of ten households without access to or unable to afford clean water…

Environment

Fracking is a very water-intensive industry, and a new study dives into the impact of unconventional oil and gas drilling on aquatic ecosystems in …


Tom Oliver, center, receives the 2022 Washington Andrus Award for Community Service. (Bruce Carlson/AARP Washington)

Social Issues

A Bellingham man who supports people with dementia has received one of the most prestigious awards for volunteerism in Washington state. The …

Social Issues

Native American tribal communities and conservation groups got a big win Wednesday as President Joe Biden announced he intends to create a new nationa…

The 2020 Iowa caucuses were beset with tabulation problems, which set off a discussion on whether to shake up the Democratic primary process. (Scoutori/Adobestock)

Social Issues

A decision could come today on Nevada's bid to become the first state in the nation to hold a Democratic primary in 2024. The Democratic National …

Environment

Snow is on the ground in much of Minnesota, but the state is coming off another warm season with notable drought conditions. Those who monitor …

Environment

By Ray Levy Uyeda for Yes! Magazine.Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Greater Dakota News Service reporting for the Solutions Journalism Network-…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021