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A cavity in dental care opens up in McLean County

Tue, 12 Jun 2012 15:06:58 CDT
By: Charlie Schlenker

The Director of the McLean County Health Department says looming Medicaid cuts mean about 750 people will lose access to dental care in the twin cities at the end of the month. Walt Howe says that's how many patients the department serves each year.

"There's going to be no access for adult dental services in the community. So we're trying to find creative ways to retain some access without those dollars, maybe a sixty seventy thousand dollar hole."

Howe says the Health Department is talking with the community healthcare clinic and the John M. Scott Health Resources Center about ways to meet the loss of service.

"We're going to at our level trying to stress as much preventive care as we can. Because without people having access to physicians, the best people can do is not need one (laughs)."

He says not treating people for pain control and minor restorative work will likely cause an increase in absenteeism, lost worker productivity, and other illnesses that will have to be treated in emergency rooms. He says the limit to receive Medicaid Service will be $25,000 a year for a family of three, a cut of $10,000.

"So you're going to have a big segment of the population that in this economy that ha had great difficulty as it is with people finding jobs and everything else. Now you've got individuals that are now into the gap that are into no support for medical services. It's going to be devastating."

The $2.7 billion in Medicaid cuts statewide come as the state struggles to balance its budget.

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