Health & Spirit

Frail patients losing access to dental house calls

Ana B. Ibarra and Heidi de Marco, Kaiser Health News on

Published in Health & Fitness

"We supported the department's decision to equalize requirements for periodontal services, regardless of whether a dentist or hygienist provides the service," said Alicia Malaby, the association's spokeswoman.

Dr. Leon Assael, the director of community-based education and practice at the University of California-San Francisco's School of Dentistry, said preauthorization requirements in other states, including Minnesota and Kentucky, where he used to work, have also delayed or limited care for homebound patients.

The requirements have driven providers out of the system, he said, leaving patients behind.

"If this were toes being lost, this would be a scandal," Assael said, "but with teeth, it's been accepted."

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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