What is a Dental
Care Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA)? The HPSA designation identifies
areas and population groups within the United States that are experiencing a
shortage of health professionals. Kentucky has approximately 116 dental care HPSAs,
but the lack of dental care is most prevalent in Appalachia.
So, why did
Governor Matt Bevin (R-KY) suspend dental and vision benefits for nearly
500,000 Medicaid recipients? A single word: Cost.
stated publicly that to offset the cost of Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion, he
has “no choice but to make significant benefit reductions.” The governor’s
proclamation follows the June action of a federal judge in Washington, DC, who
vacated and remanded Secretary Alex Azar’s approval of Medicaid work
requirements and premium increases submitted by Kentucky HEALTH
to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for further review.
plaintiffs, the National Health Law Program and Kentucky Equal Justice Center,
sought to block the work requirements from taking effect on July 1 as Governor Benin
had planned. In January, Kentucky was the first state to have its 1115
Waiver creating work requirements approved by the Centers for
Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Kentucky’s waiver would have required
recipients to pay an income-adjusted premium or risk losing coverage for up to
six months. Additionally, all able-bodied non-elderly adults would be required
to complete 80 hours per month of work, jobs training, education or community
service. The 1115 waiver had been created in part by CMS Administrator Seema
Verma when she was still a health care consultant.
provided no advance notice of the cuts, and now health law advocates say they
are considering a legal challenge to the sudden cutoff of dental and vision
services. Besides children, pregnant women and adults with disabilities were
among those listed as having lost dental coverage. According to the Louisville
Courier Journal, many dentists have already had to cancel
appointments with Medicaid recipients because they have lost coverage.
Medicaid recipients can still be seen by two ADEA institutional members: the University
of Kentucky College of Dentistry and the University of Louisville School of
Dentistry. Both dental schools have clinics that treat those who
Bureau of Health Workforce, Health Resources and Services Administration
(HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Designated Health
Professional Shortage Areas Statistics: Designated HPSA Quarterly Summary, as
of Dec. 31, 2017.