ID Dentist: Idaho Has "Broken Dental Medicaid System"
Twin Falls, Idaho (KMVT-TV) A dentist from northern Idaho is trying to bring awareness to what he calls a "Broken Idaho Dental Medicaid System'.
Doctor Rich Bailey says the state spends more than 40 million dollars on treatment with Dentaqwest, but he says it's not addressing the problem.
Dr. Bailey runs a prevention program up north called 'School Smiles'.
A pilot program, that has elementary students brushing and flossing everyday after lunch.
"The whole thing takes five minutes. Who doesn't have five minutes? I just think if our legislators got behind it, it would improve the kids lives," adds Dr. Bailey.
He wants to do a two–year study in the state and expand the program.
"To prove in a dental journal that it will not only improve those kids' lives, but save idaho's taxpayers millions."
But he's run into some road bumps along the way.
"One legislator in particular, Representative Fred Wood of Burley. He has made some promises saying he’d help me move forward. I wouldn't describe Wood as a man of his word. He can do it because he is Republican, he in on the appropriations committee, he has a good working relationship with the Governor."
We spoke with representative wood over the phone who says he disagrees with Dr. Bailey's characterization and his facts are incorrect."
Bailey though has support from House Minority Leader, John Rusche.
Rusche adds, "medicaid does pay for exams, and sealants, but his belief, brushing teeth and flossing, and it's hard to disagree with him."
Overall Bailey wants to see this study conducted in the next year.
Dr. Bailey adds, "we can do it in one of the health districts; we only need a few hundred students."
Rusche adds just like other states, Idaho faces funding shortfalls...stating dental care usually is one of the ones to go first.
We put a call into the governor's office for a comment, but were unable to do so prior to the newscast.