A Northern Michigan’s woman’s death last week is being blamed on her inability to access oral health care in Medicaid. Her untreated infection could have been prevented; she was scheduled for surgery just days after her coverage was cancelled. Her dental clinic was willing to donate the surgery but Medicaid refused to pay for hospital costs. Because of budget cuts, only emergency dental care is covered for adults in Michigan’s Medicaid program, as of July 1st.
“This woman had a chronic dental infection that ultimately killed her. If the
infection had been but a dental infection, Medicaid would have paid for
treatment, including hospitalization,” said Thomas Veryser, Executive Director
of Dental Clinics North. “We predicted cuts to the Adult Dental Medicaid Benefit
would cost lives and now it has.”