Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Governor Pawlenty slashes oral health care through unallotment‏

Minneapolis, Minn. – The Minnesota Dental Association (MDA) expressed profound disappointment in Governor Pawlenty’s cuts to oral health care services that treat Minnesota’s most vulnerable populations. The governor cut $6.2 million to the Critical Access Dental Provider Program, which funds clinics that treat low-income and rural patients, as well as those with special needs.

“Poor people don’t have lobbyists,” noted Dr. John Flor, founder of Main Street Dental M.A. in Blooming Prairie. “We see 15,000 medical assistance patients per year, and some come from up to 200 miles away to get access to our care. But we can’t accept new patients without adequate funding. While our clinic will survive these cuts, others may not.”

While Pawlenty’s unallotment for the Critical Access Dental Provider payments will not take place until April 2010, many clinics will be forced to reexamine the types of patients they serve in the future. These cuts may force some clinics to close and force patients to visit hospital emergency rooms for treatment of their oral pain rather than the more cost effective use of dental offices. Statewide, there are currently more than 20,000 emergency room visits for dental care each year.

The MDA looks forward to working with the legislature to restore the funding for oral health care during the 2010 legislative session.

The Minnesota Dental Association is the voice of dentistry in Minnesota, representing 81 percent of practicing dentists. It is committed to the highest standards of oral health and access to care for all Minnesotans. You can learn more at

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