Report Issued on Dental Care Access in West Virginia and the Results Are Not Good
The West Virginia Oral Health Coalition and the Harmony Health Foundation released a joint report, “Beyond the Waiting Room: The State of Dental Care Access in West Virginia,” exposing a crisis in dental care access across the state. Workforce shortages, economic challenges, and disparities in access, particularly among vulnerable populations, are cited as sources of the widespread problem. The paper proposes policy recommendations to address the issue, advocating for advanced technology adoption, interprofessional oral healthcare, personalized patient care, expansion of dental care coverage through legislative action, and value-based reimbursement models. To understand the problem and potential solutions, stakeholders conducted a mystery shopper program. The analysis unveiled alarming statistics, indicating that 24.1% of dental practices in the state were not accepting new patients, with a 70.1-day average wait time for the first appointment. Only 36.7% of sites could offer appointments within 30 days, falling short of benchmarks for those enrolled under Medicaid. Click here to read more.