It was heartwarming for me to witness firsthand the impact the New Hampshire Medicaid dental benefit is making in the lives of patients, some of whom had not been able to see a dentist in over a decade. I had the opportunity to talk directly with members of our community at mobile dental clinics that have been set up at our Concord offices and the Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital in Colebrook.
One patient who left a lasting impression on me was an Afghan refugee who, along with his family, came to the United States to escape the Taliban. I first spoke with him at the dental clinic in Concord on April 1st and then again on May 12th when he came for a follow-up visit. Having never had the opportunity to see a dentist before, he was elated to be able to receive care.
We were able to serve 48 patients on launch day and it was a stark reminder of the need. In response we supported three more mobile dental clinics in Concord and Colebrook. I’m delighted to share that we were able to serve several additional patients during those clinics.
Also encouraging are the increasing number of dentists that are stepping up to serve the adult Medicaid population. Since launch day, the number has risen by nearly 60 percent, from 89 to now 156 locations.
In an effort to meet the increased need, we continue to encourage participating dentists in New Hampshire and the surrounding areas to become Medicaid providers, especially providers that have already been serving children on Medicaid, as well as those outside our network who are dedicated to serving Medicaid patients in their community. We are actively recruiting providers in areas with large populations of Medicaid patients to ensure that coverage is available where the need is highest.
Overall, I am proud of the progress that has been made with the success of the mobile dental clinics and the ongoing dentist credentialing process. However, our work is far from done as we continue to work with our partner, DentaQuest, to expand access for all New Hampshire adult Medicaid recipients.
To borrow a quote from our Board Chair and Medicaid provider Dr. David B. Staples in the New Hampshire Union Leader, “If everyone takes a few patients it will go a long way to improving the health of the state. We have some very sick people with terrible teeth and no jobs who need a lot of dental work. Medicaid dental coverage couldn’t come at a better time. Now the problem is finding enough dentists who will accept Medicaid.”
For any dentist interested in considering the opportunity to make a difference, please contact DentaQuest Network Development at (855) 873-1283 or email NetworkDevelopment@dentaquest.com