Florida Dental Association has Session worth smiling about
The dentist and patient are negotiating which teeth should be corrected by looking at the X-ray

The dentist and  patient agree that their teeth need to be repai
Lawmakers agreed to fund a dental loan program aimed at bringing dentists to rural areas.

The Florida Dental Association is having a good Session.

Lawmakers have agreed to spend $1.773 million for the dental loan repayment program and an initiative called Florida’s Donated Dental Services, which is $1 million more than what the organization originally asked for.

The decision to fund the loan repayment program comes on the heels of the apparent agreement to keep Medicaid dental services in a separately procured Medicaid managed care program.

The association initially requested $773,000 for the loan repayment program that aims to bring dentists to medically underserved and designated rural areas.

Florida’s Donated Dental Services program connects dentists who are willing to donate their services to seniors and individuals who have disabilities or to people who are medically compromised. Volunteer dental labs also provide supplies like crowns and dental implants.

The Senate exceeded the request, putting $1.773 million for the program. The House agreed to the Senate’s proposal.

“With this proposed investment of $1.773 million, dentists can start helping thousands of patients in need this year through these two programs,” the association said in a statement to Florida Politics last week.

The association also came up on the winning side of a debate over the delivery of Medicaid dental care. That’s primarily focused on whether dental services should be provided through the Medicaid managed care program and the managed medical assistance and managed long-term care plans that participate in the program.

Dental care currently is procured under a separate Medicaid managed dental program.

The administration of Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed to eliminate the separate dental program, a move the House initially supported and included in its Medicaid managed care rewrite bill (HB 7047).

But the chamber backed off the move last week after the Senate was unwilling to make the change, handing the association an apparent victory.

The House bill does put additional guardrails on the Medicaid managed dental program. The House mandates the Agency for Health Care Administration to set and enforce network adequacy requirements for sedation dentistry and requires the state to dock the dental plans for emergency room-related dental costs.

Sponsored by Sen. Jason Brodeur, the Senate bill does not have that language. SB 1950 is slated to be debated by the Senate Wednesday. The House has scheduled debate on its Medicaid managed care bill for Friday.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


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