Florida Dental Association

Matthew Jones/flickr

Lawmakers are being asked to consider two competing proposals surrounding access to dental care. One would allow mid-level practitioners to be licensed, while the other would provide incentives to would-be dentists.

A coalition called Floridians for Dental Access wants the Florida Legislature to allow licenses for dental therapists.

Therapists have more training than a dental hygienist and less training than a dentist. They can perform services like filling cavities and pulling teeth.

Carlsbad Dentist via Google Images

Governor Rick Scott’s second veto of the year denies money for private dental care in rural communities. 

Daniel Oines / flickr.com

Changes could soon be on the way when it comes to how the state administers dental services in its Medicaid Managed Care program.  Dental care could be re-established as an independent service in the state’s Medicaid program.

LHatter / WFSU News

A decade ago, a group of providers sued the state, charging Florida’s Medicaid program shortchanged medical and dental care for kids. Proponents said Medicaid Managed Care was supposed to make it better, but five years into the new system, the legislature is poised to remove dental coverage for kids and roll it into a separate program.

Leon County's "Molar Express" dental clinic is one of several in eight counties that will once again serve foster care children.
Leon County Health Department

The Florida Department of Health has closed a loophole in the state’s healthcare programs for low income families. The Department has made a deal to provide dental services to foster care children in eight counties.

Florida dentists are asking lawmakers to fund programs they say will get more dentists to see low-income patients in rural and underserved areas.

The Florida Dental Associations wish list includes two main proposals. One is relatively simple. The other, is a little more complex. The first part of the associations plan is to restore a program that provides financial support to dentists to treat patients in underserved areas.

Doctors, Dentists React To Medicaid Ruling

Jan 5, 2015

Florida healthcare providers and advocates recently won a lengthy court battle against the state Medicaid’s program. 

Florida doctors and dentists argued Medicaid was shortchanging them on reimbursement rates. U.S. appellate Judge Adalberto Jordan agreed.

Florida Dental Association President Richard Stevenson says low reimbursement was a major factor for dentists in the state refusing to accept Medicaid patients.  Stevenson says he is looking forward to legislators providing enough funds to better care for the state’s underserved and vulnerable populations.

The Florida Dental Association has released a “white paper” on access and the impact of dentistry in Florida. The study says 70-percent of Floridians have no problems finding dentists to care for their needs. But Lynn Hatter reports for the people who can’t find dental care, the greatest gap is in the state’s Medicaid program, and the children who are covered by it.