The Strange and Unexpected Plight of Dental Therapists and Why They Need Your Help
Dental Therapists are asking for your support during the 2016 legislative session. They're promising to save you tax money!
The No. 1 reason uninsured people went to emergency rooms in 2010 was dental problems!
If you're poor and/or uninsured, Medicaid only reimburses your dentist 29 cents on the dollar. That's the fifth worse reimbursement rate in the nation. That means only 3 out of 10 dentists will help you... and many Washingtonians in poor neighborhoods are finding it difficult to locate a dentist who will accept Medicaid.
There are two answers: push more money into Medicaid... yeah, I guessed you weren't going to like that.
The second solution is to support Dental Therapists. These are people who perform basic services and maintain health, but can't perform procedures. They're like physician assistants and nurse practitioners.
These people are affordable and can make good money working in under-served areas.
But they're also at threat. Certain lobbying efforts are trying to decrease their influence because they take money out of the pockets of regular dentists and the businesses their practices support.
People with dental problems are not good employees, often get sick from mouth infections, and sometimes take drugs to alleviate pain. In other words, they cost the system. Dental assistants sound like the fiscally responsible option.