PROVIDERS (OP-ED); FINANCE- 72% of Private Practice Dentists Plan to Raise Fees This Year, Will Texas Do the Same for Medicaid Dentists With $32.7 Billion Extra in the Kitty?

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[MM Curator Summary]: TX dentists look upon the current state budget surplus with optimism for raising their own rates.


Clipped from:

The American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute last month published the results of an ongoing survey it has been conducting since January 2022, quizzing some 3,000 participating private practice dentists each month to measure the impact of COVID-19 and other issues affecting the profession.

The report includes breakdowns by “ownership status, DSO affiliation, practice size, geographic location, sex, age group, and race/ethnicity.”  A PDF of the report is below.

Raising fees

The one remarkable statistic is that 72% of 1041 dentists across the country, representing a cross-section of private practice dentistry,  responded that they are planning to raise their patient fees in 2023.

Unfortunately, there are no survey results on why these dentists are raising their fees. But one can only conclude that the recent inflationary spiral which has hit dentistry hard plus the difficulties in staff recruitment are the reasons.

Bounty in the state budget

A few months ago, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Glenn Hager estimated there would be a budget windfall for Texas of some $27 billion, thanks to high oil prices.  It was announced this week that the budget surplus is actually $32.7 billion.

Adverse effect on providers

As we have repeated in several stories, the situation is desperate for Medicaid dentists who have to cope with the same costs as private practice dentists but get fees substantially less.  The Medicaid dental fee schedule has only gone down since 2007.

The situation is becoming untenable for many who also have to put up with the erroneous behavior of DMOs, scrutiny of the OIG and the potential pitfalls and penalties of the Texas Medicaid Fraud Prevention Act and whistleblowers such as Joshua Lafountain.

We hope the legislature will look at raising Medicaid dental fees before the situation worsens.