2021 Advocacy Updates
Results of the 2021 Minnesota Legislative Session
The regular 2021 Minnesota Legislative Session and the special session in June have ended resulting in the passage of dental provisions in both the Senate and House Omnibus health bills. These changes to the laws are the best news that dentistry in this state has had for a very long time! With the hard work of our lobbyist, Tara Erickson, members of our Association, and a coalition of dedicated organizations committed to improving oral health in our state, these changes to the Medicaid programs are certain to improve access and increase the numbers of providers who see people on public programs while improving the process.
Here are the highlights:
- Reimbursement base rate increase of 98% (last one from 1989).
Previous three add-ons were eliminated (This means instead of getting add on money for seeing more Medicaid patients and being in a certain location the base rate applies to all who see Medicaid patients) However, the rate to critical access providers goes down to 20% extra but will still reward these providers for treating more Medicaid patients.
- Mandated fee schedules from all managed care organizations (MCOs) and their third party administrators. (In the past one MCO did not allow providers to know what they will be paid for services per their contract)
- Creates a Dental Homes Advisory Committee of 15 members (MnDHA will have one member!) which is a committee of the Department of Human Services to develop and make recommendations for a dental home pilot project. They report back to the legislature at the end of this year.
- Managed care organizations must meet certain benchmarks based on Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) which is based on utilization and access and is a national standard on if enrollees are getting a dental visit. If they do not meet the benchmarks, potentially the DHS could go to a single administrator.
- MCOs will have to file a yearly dental utilization report with DHS letting them know the percentage of enrollees that received an appointment and also give the average reimbursement for provider by county.
- Establishes uniform dental credentialing by 1/1/22. Dentists now must go through credentialing to be a provider which can take months before they can begin seeing patients. This has taken 8 years of work to achieve.
- AND reimbursement for periodontal root planing and scaling once every two years for all quadrants and payment for routine periodontal maintenance !
The Minnesota Dental Hygienists Association is very pleased to have been a part of this success. Again, we are working hard for you! Your membership makes this possible.
Advocacy Update 2020
The 2020 Legislative Session
The Minnesota Dental Hygienists Association had a very successful Day at the Capitol in February with approximately 140 attendees. Thanks to all who made the day memorable. However, the legislative session 2020, like everything else, was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our lobbyist, Tara Erickson, continued to update us on any significant issues facing oral health.
The Blue Ribbon Commission in 2020
In review, the 2019 legislature and Governor Tim Walz created the Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) to develop a plan to transform the health and human services system to be more efficient, identify cost saving measures and build better health outcomes for Minnesotans. The Commission asked for input from the public on how to accomplish these goals. Your Minnesota Dental Hygienists Association (MnDHA) submitted a proposal to improve Collaborative Dental Hygiene Practice by allowing 1) reimbursement for risk assessments and oral assessments and, 2) collaborative practice dental hygienists to be a direct pay-to-provider for Medicaid recipients. This proposal was one of over 200 strategies under consideration. Two other separate proposals for oral health came from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS).
In the summer of 2020, it was brought to the attention of the BRC that the oral health proposals had been overlooked. At that time, the three organizations were asked to combine their strategies into one. MDH and MnDHA collaborated on merging their two strategies. The combined proposal added an oral health component to the existing Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model (WSCC) utilizing collaborative practice dental hygienists as regional coordinators and providers into this state-wide coordinated school-based program. The proposal included our reimbursement strategies to strengthen collaborative practice.
Representatives from MnDHA and the MDH presented this combined proposal to the BRC which voted to include this strategy in their final report to the Legislature! At this time, we do not know which of the many strategies the BRC gave to the legislature will be chosen to be funded and implemented.
As a result of months of work, MnDHA truly increased our visibility as an integral partner in the future of oral health in our state! Many thanks to Deb Jacobi, Colleen Brickle, Clare Larkin and Jeanne Anderson for their work on this project. Also, thanks to Tara Erickson for helping us through the submission of our proposal and this process.
Access these websites for more information on the BRC and the WSCC Model:
For more information contact Jeanne Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MnDHA Legislative Session 2019
During the 2019 Minnesota Legislative session, the Minnesota Dental Hygienists Association provided input and letters of support for issues related to the provision of oral health care. Our lobbyist, Tara Erickson, represented us well and provided information for this report. Here is a summary of our activity and the session results.
Periodontal- initiative to add root planing for nonpregnant adults to Medicaid (Medical Assistance) benefits
MnDHA sent letters of support for the bills in the House and Senate. The House included the language in their HHS Omnibus bill; the Senate did not. Ultimately the provision was cut during negotiations and did not move forward
this session.Proposal to eliminate all dental benefits
The Senate Omnibus bill included a proposal to eliminate dental and vision coverage for all able-bodied adults on Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare. We worked to get an editorial in the Star Tribune and articles around the state. Also, a Twitter campaign was started and received thousands of impressions. We are pleased to report that this provision was not included in the final bill and was opposed by Governor Walz and DHS Commissioner Lourey. This put a halt to advancing any expansion of dental benefits this year. Again, the MnDHA Advocacy Council led a letter writing campaign opposing this.Provider Tax
The 2% provider tax on dental services was to sunset (end) at the end of 2019. During legislative compromises, instead of eliminating it all together, it was reduced to 1.8%. The revenue from this tax supports MNCare, a portion of Medicaid and other programs through the Minnesota Department of Health. MnDHA was concerned that the sunset would have resulted in inadequate funding for these programs.
Critical Access Dental (CAD)
There was a proposal to eliminate the CAD program which reimburses dentists (safety net providers) who treat patients with state dental insurance. Although the numbers of safety net providers have doubled, patients receiving a dental appointment have not increased significantly. We anticipate that an alternative funding model will be developed in the future to support safety net providers.
Thanks to all who contributed by writing to their legislators. Your voice makes a difference. The MnDHA Advocacy Council will continue to support you and your patients.
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