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Researchers uncover dentists unwilling to treat Medicaid-enrolled kids
Updated: 5/24/2011 7:00:05 PM

Some providers who participate in Medicaid avoid treating patients who are enrolled in the program Dental emergencies may threaten the overall well-being of individuals - especially children. However, families who are on Medicaid may be denied urgent care, even by providers who accept the state-sponsored plan, according to a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics.

HealthDay News reported that a group of Illinois researchers recently conducted an under-cover investigation to determine how many Medicaid-enrolled children vs. privately insured kids would be accepted as patients by 85 different dental providers in the case of an emergency tooth fracture.

The study's results showed that only 68 percent of children on the state program were offered an appointment by providers who participated in Medicaid services, compared to all of the privately insured kids, the news source said.

The news organization explained that the researchers believe low reimbursement rates discourage even Medicaid providers from offering services that will require follow-up visits.

"I think this has implications for a lot of states. It's definitely a wake-up call," said lead researcher Karin Rhodes, quoted by the news provider.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, more than 20 percent of American children lack dental coverage.

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