Poll finds cost is a major barrier to dental care | Mass. to hold hearings on Medicaid dental coverage, dental therapists | Ariz. confronts problems with access to dental care
September 14, 2017
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News affecting dental benefits
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Poll finds cost is a major barrier to dental care
Forty percent of respondents to a poll of 50- to 64-year-olds said they do not regularly get preventive dental care, 56% said they get care only for serious dental problems and 28% said they do not have dental insurance. "For the majority of folks, cost was the main barrier to dental care," said lead researcher Erica Solway of the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.
HealthDay News (9/7) 
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Industry News
Health plan open enrollment season is a good time to shop for dental plans
Open enrollment periods are approaching for employer-based, Medicare Advantage and Affordable Care Act health and dental plans. Dental plans are designed to encourage preventive care, says National Association of Dental Plans Executive Director Evelyn Ireland, and funds from tax-advantaged flexible spending or health savings accounts can be used to cover co-insurance.
WTOP-FM (Washington, D.C.)/The Associated Press (9/13) 
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Mass. to hold hearings on Medicaid dental coverage, dental therapists
Legislators in Massachusetts will hold hearings on bills that would restore dental benefits for MassHealth beneficiaries and expand access to dental therapists.
WWLP-TV (Springfield, Mass.) (9/8) 
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Ariz. confronts problems with access to dental care
Arizona has fewer dentists per capita than the national average, according to the American Dental Association, and Risas Dental CEO Jeff Adams says most are clustered in metropolitan areas. Meanwhile, the Arizona Dental Association says 44% of adults and 38% of children in Arizona lack dental insurance, while dental costs are rising, says the group's president-elect, Robert Roda.
AZ Big Media (Phoenix) (9/12) 
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Oral Health
Group issues guidelines for assessing head and neck masses
Guidelines from the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery aim to raise awareness among health care professionals of head and neck cancer symptoms, which include a mass that grows or lasts more than two or three weeks; neck, throat or ear pain; problems swallowing; vocal or hearing changes; unexplained weight loss; and a high fever. Neck masses can be caused by viral or bacterial infections, but they may instead be benign or cancerous tumors, according to the academy.
HealthDay News (9/12) 
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Squid ink and ultrasound might replace the painful dental pocket probe
Squid ink and ultrasound might replace the painful dental pocket probe
(Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images)
Dentists, dental hygienists and patients dislike the metal pocket-depth probes to detect gum disease so much that early symptoms are easily missed, says dentist Arezou Goshtasbi, but new research reported in the Journal of Dental Research might render the tool obsolete. The researchers tested high-resolution photoacoustic ultrasound and cuttlefish ink on pig jaws, using the technique to create a map of pockets around each tooth in less time than it takes to use a metal probe, study leader Jesse Jokerst says.
PBS (9/10),  Washingtonian online (9/11) 
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COPD linked to regular use of disinfectants in health care setting
Nurses who used bleach or quaternary ammonium compounds weekly to clean surfaces or medical instruments were 22% to 32% more likely to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease than those who did not use the disinfecting agents, according to the results of a long-term study by researchers at Harvard University and the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research.
The Guardian (London) (9/10) 
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Company News
Dental Dreams agrees to pay $1.4M to resolve MassHealth fraud accusations
Dental Dreams, based in Chicago, agreed to an almost $1.4 million settlement to resolve a whistleblower lawsuit accusing the firm of violating the False Claims Act by overbilling MassHealth. The dental practice, which has eight locations in Massachusetts, allegedly submitted fraudulent Medicaid claims for unneeded and unreasonable dental procedures, according to federal investigators.
Worcester Business Journal (Mass.) (9/6) 
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NADP News
CONVERGE session focuses on senior markets
What are the emerging trends in senior markets for dental insurance and other ancillary products? How should dental organizations be preparing to meet the market needs? Join NADP for "Senior Markets," an insightful CONVERGE 2017 break-out session Tuesday, Sept. 26 from 4:15-4:45 p.m. HealthScape Advisors' Steve Buege and Marc Milanowski will discuss macro demographic (10,000+ a day); mega and market trends; potential legislative impacts and carrier considerations. CONVERGE is Sept. 25-28 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. For details and registration, visit the CONVERGE microsite.
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Discovery Zone exhibitors provide solutions to industry challenges
Looking for cutting-edge business solutions to tackle your company's challenges? Visit the Discovery Zone at CONVERGE 2017. Discovery Zone exhibitors offer a wide variety of products and services from web, technology and software solutions, to claims processing systems, fraud prevention, printing and fulfillment, credentialing, hearing health care, vision plans and more. Click here for Discovery Zone hours.
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I would rather work with five people who really believe in what they are doing ... than five hundred who can't see the point.
Patrick Dixon,
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