The Wisconsin Dental Association today released the following statement from WDA President Dr. Paula Crum (Green Bay), after the Joint Committee on Finance voted to increase dental Medicaid reimbursement rates:
“On behalf of the 3,100 members of the Wisconsin Dental Association and the patients we serve, I would like to extend a sincere thank you to the Joint Committee on Finance for including dental Medicaid reimbursement increases in its 2021-23 state budget proposal. Yesterday’s action represents the state’s first potential significant investment in oral health in two decades, and is a good start to expanding access to dental care for our state’s most vulnerable residents.
“Wisconsin’s dental Medicaid rates have increased by only 2% since 2002. Yesterday’s vote represents a 40% increase. We know from Legislative Fiscal Bureau data that private-practice dentists provide the majority of oral health care rendered to individuals on Medicaid. The committee’s historic commitment will go a long way in maintaining and expanding the current safety net of providers and will help more people get care.
“I want to extend my appreciation to WDA member dentists who sent over 500 messages to lawmakers urging them to support increased Medicaid reimbursement. Yesterday’s action is a testament to the importance of grassroots advocacy on behalf of our patients.
“We greatly appreciate the increased attention being paid to oral health in Wisconsin. We all agree that getting more people quality oral healthcare will require a multipronged approach, utilizing a variety of solutions. The Wisconsin Dental Association strongly believes increasing reimbursement rates in Wisconsin is one of the prongs to do just that.”