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Pediatr Dent. 2001 Sep-Oct;23(5):395-400.

Louisiana dentists' attitudes toward the dental Medicaid program.

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Department of Public Health Sciences, Baylor College of Dentistry, USA.



This study was performed to determine factors associated with Louisiana dentists' participation in the Dental Medicaid Program.


Surveys were mailed to all pediatric and general dentists as reported by the Louisiana State Board of Licensing. A second mailing was made to non-respondents.


Surveys from 956 of 1,926 dentists (50%) were returned. Of 607 general dentists and 40 pediatric dentists who treated dental Medicaid-enrolled children in the past year, 269 (44%) and 18 (45%), respectively, treated all Medicaid-enrolled children. Newly graduated dentists were more likely to be actively enrolled than their more established counterparts (chi 2 = 10.67; p = 0.01). Medicaid reimbursement levels were viewed as "much less" than private fees by 62%, "less" by 33% and "the same" by 4% of the respondents. Broken appointments were the most prevalent reported problem (80%), followed by low fees (61%), patient non-compliance (59%), unreasonable denial of payments (57%), slow payment (44%), and complicated paperwork (42%). With the exception of the perceived importance of Medicaid reimbursement levels, active and inactive general and pediatric dentists' perceptions of the importance of Medicaid issues were not significantly different. These findings indicated that significantly more Medicaid-active general dentists who allocated 10% of their office visits to Medicaid-eligible children felt that slow payment (p = 0.002) and complicated paperwork (p < 0.001) were more important problems than general dentists who allocated less time to Medicaid-eligible children.


Louisiana dentists' sources of dissatisfaction with Medicaid are similar to those of dentists in other states. Some of the issues are programmatic and are within the power of the dental Medicaid director and state legislature to address. Patient-related issues such as frequent broken appointments may be addressed by assigning case managers to Medicaid beneficiaries.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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