News Release

Health Department of Northwest Michigan
serving Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego Counties
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Dental Clinics North welcomes back adults enrolled in Medicaid
Medicaid adult dental benefit fully reinstated as of October 1

(October 4, 2010) Governor Jennifer Granholm signed a series of budget bills late last week which include full restoration of dental coverage for adult patients enrolled in Medicaid. Medicaid adult dental benefits were cut to emergency-only services 15 months ago.

"This is great news for our patients and for Michigan tax payers," said Linda Yaroch, Deputy Health Officer for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan, which manages eight Dental Clinics North locations, providing oral health services for low income and uninsured residents across the tip of the mitt. "Medicaid patients with untreated dental disease end up in hospital emergency rooms, which is far more costly than seeing a dentist."

According to Gerald Chase, Health Officer, there were many individuals involved in reinstating the full benefit for Medicaid patients. "I would like to thank Representative Gary McDowell and Senator Roger Klan for their leadership in assuring the inclusion of this restoration in the Budget," he said.

Before the benefit was reinstated on October 1, 2010, the only treatment option for many Medicaid dental patients was having their teeth pulled. Now with full restoration of the benefit, Medicaid patients can be seen for preventive care and treatment.

"Oral health care is extremely important in preventing, diagnosing, and treating both oral health and primary health care needs of patients," said Thomas Veryser, DDS, Chief Executive Officer of Michigan Community Dental Clinics, Inc. "Several studies have documented how poor oral health affects the state's health, resulting in increases in pre-term and/or low birth weight infants, heart disease rates, incidence of arteriosclerosis, illness and death from oral cancer, and difficulty in managing diabetes."

Oral health care is not secondary but intrinsic to good health. ôReinstating the Medicaid adult dental benefit is both fiscally and morally responsible," he said.

Dental Clinics North provides general dentistry for the entire family at locations in Alpena, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, East Jordan, Gaylord, Mancelona, Traverse City, and West Branch. Medicaid, Delta Healthy Kids, and Northern Dental Plan are accepted. To schedule an appointment in any Dental Clinics North location, call 877-321-7070.