Maryland Matters reports Maryland’s Task Force on Oral Health convened for the first time on Tuesday, September 14th. The General Assembly-established task force is comprised of both “[p]olicymakers and dental practitioners” who will work to expand access to oral health care and “identify barriers that prevent patients from seeking [care].”
Among the factors to be considered for the task force’s recommendations are “insurance coverage, race and socioeconomic status, geographic barriers to dental care, and workforce development.” At present, the state has several programs offering oral health care, including Maryland Healthy Smiles for children and mothers and “all nine HealthChoice Managed Care Organization programs” for Medicaid enrollees. Unfortunately, use of these resources has been somewhat lagging.
According to Maryland Matters:
Committee members suggested a number of barriers that could be preventing eligible Marylanders from receiving services, such as a lack of transportation or not knowing that these programs exist.
Dentist Ricardo Kimbers said that he has seen Medicaid patients since the early 1980s. His biggest issue has been a seeming disinterest among patients in keeping their appointments — particularly on the part of parents.
“I give them two — sometimes three — times to come and they still won’t bring the child,” he said. “I think that needs to be tackled in some way, shape or form.
The Task Force on Oral Health will provide an interim report to the governor on May 1, 2022, and final recommendations will submitted by December 1, 2022.