This measure is important because Vermont Medicaid is experiencing a shortage of dentists.
Many dentists in Vermont have stopped accepting new Medicaid patients and many dentists are nearing retirement age. The average wait time as a new Medicaid patient to see a dentist is often 90-120 days. Per the Affordable Care Act, Vermonters have increased access to insurance for dental services, including Medicaid, but many dentists do not accept new Medicaid patients.
Vermont has been designated a Dental Care Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSAs). HPSAs are geographic areas where the ratio of the population to the providers - measured in full time equivalents, or FTE - is high enough for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to designate the area as having a greater need for services. This allows providers working in those areas to access benefits and incentives such as bonus payments for Medicare services, National Health Service Corps (NHSC), State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP), and the J-1 Visa waiver program. These benefits are intended to steer providers to underserved areas. HPSAs are also awarded to safety net providers including Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics.
The trendline shows that the overall availability of dentists is remaining steady. However, the break-out grid shows that there is a shortage of dentists in the more rural counties. In SFY21 Q3, we added the column "# of Dentists accepting new Medicaid members" to better illustrate the shortage of rural dentists.
Narrative last updated: 06/17/2021