Talks facilitated by Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter between the Idaho State Dental Association, contractor DentaQuest and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare resulted today in the Idaho Smiles Medicaid program being reopened to all previously contracted dental care providers.
Today's announcement came after DentaQuest acknowledged the need to address confusion among dentists about budget-driven changes to the Idaho Smiles program that left hundreds of them without contracts to continue providing services to Medicaid patients.
"The main thing I want to communicate today is the shared commitment by everyone involved that no Idaho Medicaid recipients will be denied access to dental care. That is our top priority, and our promise to Idaho citizens," Governor Otter said.
"I appreciate all the leaders accepting my invitation to work this out together. That continuing discussion has gone a long way toward clearing up the misunderstandings among dentists and patients about changes to the Idaho Smiles program that led to over-generalization at last week's televised debate about the reasons that some providers were not extended new contracts."
While reopening the program to all providers who previously had contracts to provide Idaho Smiles Medical dental services, DentaQuest is working with Health and Welfare to ensure rigorous monitoring of compliance with contract provisions.