Monday, June 18, 2007

Dental Costs & Wait Times Will Rise Dramatically?

Coalition Says Dental Costs and Wait Times Will Rise Dramatically in North Carolina

Many North Carolina residents will find themselves paying significantly more for routine dental care and waiting longer for appointments if proposed regulatory changes by the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners (NCSBDE) are approved, according to TEAM 1500, a non-profit coalition that aims to ensure equal access to health care for all Americans.

NCSBDE will hold a public hearing on its proposals this Saturday, June 16 at 10:00 a.m. at the board’s offices: 507 Airport Blvd., Suite 105, in Morrisville. TEAM 1500 strongly encourages patients and health care professionals to attend and express their opposition.

Specifically, NCSBDE is pushing changes that would drastically raise the educational requirements for North Carolina dentists who cater to the most fearful and anxious patients. If the changes are adopted, these patients will have to make the hard choice of paying significantly more for the same dental care they currently receive or doing without dental checkups altogether.

“Job number one for members of the North Carolina Board is to protect patient safety,” says Dean Rotbart, director of TEAM 1500. “But by setting the bar so high to receive care, the board is making dental care less available to those who need it most and thereby actually compromising patient safety.”

Rotbart notes that the kind of anti-anxiety dentistry that the Board intends to further regulate has proved extremely safe and effective in North Carolina and throughout the nation relying on far less restrictive guidelines. “The system is not broken – yet,” Rotbart says. “If the NCSBDE adopts the new proposals, North Carolinians will face a true dental care crisis.”

In particular, TEAM 1500 says that the biggest losers in North Carolina will be the poor, elderly and handicapped who already find it difficult to get adequate care. “Rather than look for ways to accommodate the neediest patients, the Board’s proposals will further disenfranchise them.”

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