I like Valentine’s Day, and, whether or not single or in a relationship, I all the time have. I like the colours, I like the little valentines, I like the crafts, I like the treats, and I like the general public being pressured to point out love. Contrived or not, I like that somebody (greeting card corporations?) determined to create a vacation primarily based round love. And I might ask that this Valentine’s Day, you present some like to our sufferers with Medicaid insurance coverage.
As somebody who spent the vast majority of my years of observe working in underserved communities in jobs starting from seeing sufferers on-site in nursing houses, to being an affiliate in non-public practices the place Medicaid was accepted, to working in federally certified well being facilities, I’ve been a proud Medicaid supplier my whole virtually 11 years of observe. Now, because the vice chair of the ADA Council on Advocacy for Entry and Prevention, I spend time exterior of my working hours working with a staff of people who find themselves actively working to enhance Medicaid for sufferers and suppliers.
I as soon as heard somebody say we are able to’t remedy the entry to care disaster with free dental days. Final yr, Donated Dental Companies supplied dental therapy to 228 individuals in my state. In my state, over the previous couple of years, about 200 dentists have dropped Medicaid, however there’s about 2 million individuals who use Medicaid insurance coverage. Don’t cease studying, fellow dentists. My plea is delivered with an abundance of gratitude to these of you who’ve given your time and abilities to our sufferers and supplied free companies, whether or not via a Mission of Mercy occasion or Donated Dental Companies or Dental Lifeline Community. With my gratitude comes the plea: Why not settle for Medicaid? I do know why you’ll say that you simply don’t. I’ve heard each argument there may be: The reimbursement charges are an insult and never sufficient to maintain your small business afloat. The paperwork is, at minimal, a problem. The no-show charges are abysmal. I’m not asking you to show your observe right into a “Medicaid workplace.” I’m petitioning you to join it, when you keep on enterprise as ordinary, and perhaps simply tackle one new Medicaid affected person a month…each different week…perhaps even as soon as every week?
I heard a dentist say lately, “Medicaid sufferers are the worst sufferers you’re ever going to see.” I felt like somebody stabbed me within the coronary heart. These are human beings whose lives come together with, oftentimes, extra issues, however does that make it OK to say they’re “the worst sufferers you’re ever going to see”? To make a sweeping generalization that the whole inhabitants of persons are “the worst sufferers you’re ever going to see” — due to the kind of insurance coverage they’ve? My sufferers who’ve Medicaid have made me love dentistry. I’ve a great deal of earlier than and after footage of instances I’ve finished and presents and playing cards from grateful sufferers — who had Medicaid insurance coverage. When my finest pal and her husband have been fostering their son (my godson), he had Medicaid insurance coverage as a ward of the state. Was he, as an toddler, considered one of “the worst sufferers you’re ever going to see,” or was he exempt from this as a result of his foster mother and father themselves weren’t lined by Medicaid?
I’ve heard individuals say, even when reimbursement charges are drastically elevated, they nonetheless received’t settle for Medicaid. At commencement, we took a pledge, however does that pledge solely prolong to those that can afford therapy or who’ve insurance coverage charges that reimburse increased than Medicaid?
I might politely ask that you simply take into account what I’ve written. Even for those who don’t need to settle for just a few Medicaid sufferers into your observe and cope with the inconveniences to assist this affected person inhabitants who’s simply as deserving of high quality care as some other, not less than cease the generalizations and stigmas. This Valentine’s Day, present some like to our sufferers with Medicaid.
For assets on well being fairness from the ADA, go to ADA.org/healthequity.