CHICAGO (April 25, 2012)—On Tuesday, April 24, 2012, the ABC program “World News With Diane Sawyer” aired a segment regarding the need to improve the oral health of underprivileged children on Medicaid, specifically in the state of Florida.
The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) applauds this television program for bringing national attention to the lack of Medicaid funding available to treat children’s oral health. The AGD urges the U.S. Congress and state programs to increase the Medicaid money allotted for oral health care.
“The need for improvement in the oral health of the underprivileged is a nationwide epidemic,” says AGD President Howard Gamble, DMD, FAGD. “Dedicated dentists around the country are improving the oral health of Americans through volunteer outreach programs, but that is not enough. Reimbursement rates to dentists need to increase to cover the full cost of the services being provided to each patient.”
In addition to a proposed increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates, a 2008 position paper by the AGD, “White Paper on Increasing Access to and Utilization of Oral Health Care Services,” calls for greater efforts to improve oral health literacy and education, the expansion of water fluoridation, and loan forgiveness programs for dentists working in underserved areas.
“The underprivileged of America deserve quality care by adequately educated professionals,” says Dr. Gamble. “Good oral health is essential to maintain good overall health, and Congress should acknowledge that connection to ensure all Americans receive proper dental treatment.”
About the Academy of General Dentistry
The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) is a professional association of more than 37,000 general dentists dedicated to providing quality dental care and oral health education to the public. AGD members stay up-to-date in their profession through a commitment to continuing education. Founded in 1952, the AGD is the second largest dental association in the United States, and it is the only association that exclusively represents the needs and interests of general dentists. A general dentist is the primary care provider for patients of all ages and is responsible for the diagnosis, treatment, management, and overall coordination of services related to patients’ oral health needs. For more information about the AGD, visit www.agd.org.