We at Commerce Drive Dental are often asked why dental offices don’t accept new Medical Assistance (MA) patients any more. The answer is simple: Minnesota reimbursement rates for MA programs are 50th – dead last – in the entire country for pediatric patients and 4th from last for adult patients (read this 3/6/15 article from the Mankato Free Press for more info). Payments are based on 1989 fees and were actually cut by the legislature in 2010. At that time it resulted in 24% of the dental offices in the state dropping the program entirely, leaving the burden on the rest. Reimbursements aren’t even close to covering dental offices expenses; in fact, they only cover about half of the overhead costs to treat the average MA patient. It is one thing to ask dental offices to treat MA patients at no charge, but to lose money doing it is just not good business sense. Commerce Drive Dental has been accepting new MA patients up until recently, unlike most offices in southern Minnesota. We will continue to treat our existing patients the same as any other insured or private pay patient.
To help out the access problem even more, Commerce Drive Dental has participated in many of the free dental clinics in our area to help the uninsured, including the Minnesota Dental Association’s Mission of Mercy events in 2012, 2013, and 2014; Give Kids A Smile; and Donated Dental Services.
There is hope on the horizon now for positive change, as there is the possibility of new legislation to bring reimbursement rates back to the middle of the pack nationally. This would definitely help provide access to care for many in need. If you are in favor of this, please contact your representative and show your support of this legislation.