- WDA position paper on FQHCs-private practice contracting
- WDA proposals to address barriers to dental care
- Substantially more dentists work in private practice than in the Federally Qualified Health Centers model. The number of full and part-time dentists in FQHCs is between 50 and 100, while the number of dentists in private practice is around 3,000.
- Similarly, there are private practice dentists in all 72 Wisconsin counties, while FQHC dental clinics exist in only 23 counties. Medical assistance patients have limited transportation options, so they would be better served if they could more easily access care from the nearly 3,000 dentists located in communities statewide rather than requiring them to travel to regionally-based FQHC clinics
- While private dental practices have to finance their own construction and upgrades, federal and state governments frequently extend large subsidies to finance construction of FQHCs.
- The state covers the costs of care when MA patients are treated at FQHCs – an amount double that which is paid when MA patients receive services at private practice dental offices (view data). Thus, it is a wise business decision for FQHCs to see MA patients, but an unsustainable business model for private sector practices (view data).
- The WDA has long advocated for the state or federal governments to conduct a study comparing the costs and benefits of reducing barriers to care by expanding the FQHC model versus investing funds in the MA program so as to utilize existing private sector dental offices to their full capacity.
This paper provides background on the WDA’s support for and role in facilitating discussions between private-practice dentists and FQHCs regarding the potential opportunity to treat more low-income patients.
The WDA believes MA patients will get the quality dental care they need and the state has promised them when legislators and other state officials choose to make “healthy choices” on behalf of their constituents.
The WDA seeks policymakers’ support for a variety of legislative initiatives that will help address the issue of dental access problems in a timely manner in our state.