HB160/SB170 – Budget Bill – Dental Rates
This year’s budget includes a long-awaited increase in rates for dentists who participate in Maryland’s Health Smiles Program, the program that serves low-income children and pregnant women.
Why this funding is important:In 2008 the Governor accepted the full set of recommendations developed by the Dental Action Committee convened in the wake of Deamonte Driver’s death. Included in the recommendations was a Medicaid rate increase that would bring Maryland’s dental rates up to the average Medicaid rates for the Mid-Atlantic region. The first of a promised three-step rate increase went into effect in 2009; it targeted preventive services and contributed to the increase in the number of dentists accepting Medicaid. Steps two and three were delayed due to budgetary concerns. While this rate increase is less than 30% of the original increase, it is absolutely essential to attracting and maintaining participation of general dentists and specialists.
Update: Increase remained in the budget passed by the General Assembly.