Idaho dentists up in arms over governor's comments

Dentists across the Gem State are outraged after Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter defended the decision to cut 30% of Idaho Smiles providers during a gubernatorial debate held October 13, according to a story by KIFI-TV.

He and Democratic candidate Keith Allred discussed the matter for nearly 10 minutes during the debate, it was reported.

The issue, many dental providers say, is a lack of communication. DentaQuest, the company that administers the Idaho Smiles program, is cutting about 200 dentists from the Medicaid network for reportedly "overproviding" services. But the nearly one-third of dentists enrolled in Idaho Smiles who are being cut received only a 30-day notice of termination that goes into effect November 1.

"In the last year, we have not received communication from the governor's office, Health and Welfare, or Medicaid saying they're concerned with any of our practices," Idaho Falls dentist Justin Bell, D.D.S., told one TV station.

Otto now says the state will re-examine the practices of those dentists who have been eliminated from the program to give them a chance to correct their practices, according to KPVI News 6.

The Idaho Smiles program was implemented in 2007 and currently provides services to about 220,000 Medicaid recipients, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. The department has a five-year contract with Blue Cross to oversee the program; in turn, Blue Cross subcontracts with DentaQuest to administer the program to certain populations.

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