Aimee Patton

A pleasantly eccentric take on politics

I put down Sarah Palin’s latest book on protecting at-risk Christmas to read this the other day…

Kansas dental program for children on hold because of KanCare MCO

Really Kansas?  Is this the latest casualty in Brownback’s great experiment?  Sure enough, Medicaid that used to pay for poor kid’s teeth to be cleaned for years suddenly has stopped paying with the creation of Kancare and that means no more teeth cleanings.

Some background stats to see where we came from: in 2007, more than 7,000 kids had regular cleanings from dental hygienists in Head Start classrooms.

Those are some pretty amazing stats if you ask me.

Then Brownback rolls out Kancare and turns over the Medicaid system to private insurance and what happens?

“UnitedHealthcare, one of the three KanCare contractors, chose to not authorize payment for teeth cleanings performed at Head Start, a decision that effectively put the entire program on ice.”

Now why should you care entitlement program haters?  Well it costs you money if our poor Kansas kids teeth aren’t clean.  Check this out from the Pew Charitable Trust Research report In Search of Dental Care

Costs of Emergency Room Dental Care
Without a system of continuous care, children and adults are more likely to end up in hospital emergency rooms
with serious dental conditions that could have been prevented.35 In 2009, more than 830,000 Americans were treated in ERs for toothaches or other preventable dental problems.36 For many low-income
children, emergency rooms are the only option because their families cannot find a dentist who practices in their area or accepts Medicaid. These hospital visits exacerbate states’ financial burdens. A national study found
that treating decay-related cases in ERs cost nearly $110 million in 2006 alone.37 States are saddled with a significant share of these unnecessary expenditures through Medicaid.38

Kathy Hunt, RDH, a member of the Board of Directors of Oral Health Kansas, provided testimony outlining tooth-cartoon-vectorall of the problems with trying to get the dental visits covered by Kancare.

She said, “During the KanCare planning process, state officials repeatedly shared their vision for KanCare during public forums, noting that through KanCare, Medicaid beneficiaries will be able to receive the same services.  A July 2012 KanCare Frequently Asked Questions document that was distributed during the educational forum noted:

Q: Will the State continue to contract with existing providers?

  • The KanCare contract require that contractors use established community partners to deliver care and services.

We have found that this promise has not been kept, as dental services are not readily available in Head Start and health department settings any longer.”

Sounds kind of like that promise that you can keep your doctor that has the Republicans uberly pissed off.  Now Ms. Hunt gave this testimony over a month ago and it has been radio silence in response to her testimony.

I’m SURE, like abso-freaking-lutely sure that if there was a Christmas tree in the Kancare office that was supplying the teeth cleaning to the poor children’s teeth and someone decided that it should be called a Holiday tree, there would be representatives falling all over themselves to be heard about how horrible it is. The fact that there are poor children in the state of Kansas who can’t get their teeth cleaned anymore and Ms. Hunt hears NOTHING to right this wrong is astounding to me.

Get it together Kansas.  This an easy fix.


One thought on “Yep this happened in KS – Kansas stops cleaning poor kids teeth

  1. Brian Jones says:

    Great story Aimee. Thanks.

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