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More funding needed to provide dental care for low-income families
Updated: 6/16/2010 7:01:07 PM

More funding needed to provide dental care for low-income families A new study from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health has found that a large number of low-income children did not receive dental care treatments last year. In fact, only 42.8 percent of these patients regularly see a dentists, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Low-income families that are covered by Medical Assistance, Pennsylvania's affiliate of Medicaid, have access to managed care programs that require the state to provide several dental providers.

However, many dentists aren't participating in the program because they won't receive full reimbursement and children are still not receiving oral hygiene services. For example, from May 2009 to April 2010, only 26 percent of Pennsylvania dentists treated a patient who had Medicaid as their dental insurance provider.

State representatives hope that future reimbursement plans will increase funding and the number of participating dentists.

"We don't have exact [figures], but I can say the state is making great strides in improving the dental assistance portion of the [Medicaid] program," said Monica R. Costlow, a senior policy analyst in Pennsylvania and co-author of the study.

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