Access and utilization of dental services for Medicaid children 2013-2015

March 23, 2018, International & American Associations for Dental Research

At the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research (AADR), held in conjunction with the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research (CADR), Natalia I. Chalmers, D.D.S., Ph.D. of the DentaQuest Institute, Westborough, Mass., presented an oral session titled "Access and Utilization of Dental Services for Medicaid Children 2013-2015." The AADR/CADR Annual Meeting is in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., USA from March 21-24, 2018.

The study retrospectively evaluated access to and the utilization of dental services and sealants, based on dental claims data for Medicaid-enrolled children 20 years and under from 13 states. The goal was to identify specific factors such as patient age, race, the location of etc. which were significantly associated with dental services access and sealant placement.

Medicaid claims 2013-2015 for 13 states were utilized. Estimation of access to dental services was based on the ratio of all children with medical or dental service to those with dental service. Estimation of dental services utilization was based on the ratio of children who had at least one dental visit to those who received the service. Type I services were defined as preventive and diagnostic and Type II services were defined as restorative.

"During the study, there was a significant increase in the number of new Medicaid-enrolled children," said Natalia I. Chalmers. "This increase had a significant impact on the overall access to dental services."

Across the years, 77% of Medicaid children utilized Type I services and 21% of Medicaid children utilized Type II services. Sealant access rates for 6-9 years old were 17.6%, 17.5% and 16.5% and the sealant utilization rates were 28.5%, 28.7%, and 27.9%. Sealant access rates for 10-14 years old were 12.9%, 12.6% and 11.8% and sealant utilization rates were 22.7%, 22.6%, and 22.1%.

A significant proportion of Medicaid-enrolled with access to the dental delivery system receive preventive and diagnostic services, but utilization of care remains a challenge in the context of continuously expanding eligible population.

Explore further: The impact of ACA Medicaid expansion on dental visits: mixed results

More information: "Access and Utilization of Dental Services for Medicaid Children 2013-2015" Friday, March 23, 2018.

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