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Finally, some good news about HUSKY. After eight years, the state and legal aid attorneys have reached a settlement to improve access to dental care in the program. Finding a dentist has been nearly impossible in the program for many years; only 4% of CT dentists participate in HUSKY. The problem pre-dates managed care. Dentists blame low reimbursement rates. The settlement will significantly raise rates to dentists using $20 million passed in last year’s budget. Also, as of July 1st dental care will be carved out of the rest of HUSKY to be run by a non-capitated administrator hired by the state rather than through the HUSKY managed care organizations; dentists will bill the state directly for the care they provide. The HUSKY HMOs were capitated – they got paid whether or not children got any care. The HUSKY HMOs compounded the burden on dentists and have been a significant barrier to expanding access to dental care. The credit goes to Jamey Bell, the lead attorney at Greater Hartford Legal Assistance – her determination, legal expertise and people skills are considerable. Jamey has a way of getting people to do the right thing while thinking it was their idea. We are very lucky to have her and all her legal aid colleagues on our side.
Ellen Andrews