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Dental association pushes back against university dental schools


By Lynn Hatter


Tallahassee, FL – Several Universities are exploring plans to build new dental schools in Florida .They want to address a shortage of dentists in the state. But the Florida Dental Association is pushing back against the plans. Lynn Hatter reports the association says new schools aren't the answer.

Citing a 2010 Department of Health Survey, the Florida Dental Association says the state suffers from a mal-distribution of dentists, not a shortage of them. Association President Dr. Cesar Sabates says what the state needs to do is increase Medicaid reimbursement rates to get more dentists to treat Medicaid patients. Right now they get only 25 cents back on every dollar of services performed.

During the 2011 legislative session lawmakers added 56-million dollars to the Medicaid reimbursement fee for children's dental services.

Meanwhile, the Board of Governors which oversees the universities, will take up dentistry proposals at its September meeting. Florida A&M University and the University of Central Florida are looking to start new programs, and the University of Florida wants to expand its existing dentistry school.