Showing posts with label Taxpayer paying big for orthodontics in Texas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Taxpayer paying big for orthodontics in Texas. Show all posts

Friday, August 12, 2011

Orthodontic treatment increased nearly 50%. Why? Marketing?

From the Wall Street Journal- November 16, 2010
by  Nancy Keates at

The number of children 17 and younger getting orthodontic treatment has grown 46% over the past decade to 3.8 million in 2008,... figure available from the American Association of Orthodontists
The association doesn't break the number down further by age, but Lee W. Graber, the Association's president, estimates that in his own practice 15% to 20% of the 7- to 10-year-olds he sees get treatment.
"Fifteen years ago we rarely saw kids until they were teenagers," Dr. Graber says...
In the U.S., the shift to earlier treatment dates back to around 1990, the year the orthodontists association began encouraging the screening of 7-year-olds, with magazine ads and videos aimed at parents. Better diagnostic technology also has led to more early treatment. Increased insurance coverage has played a role, too...
[ Basically saying a market was created to rake in the dough?  Shocking! 
Question: Who created the market?  Answer: The American Association of Orthodontists. 
Question: Who convinced insurance companies to increase their coverage?  Answer: The AAO?  Question: How did they convince insurance companies to start picking up more of the tab? Answer: False or misleading information, junk science? 

Same questions to go out to Medicaid. ]

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Texas gone hog wild and pig crazy with taxpayer sponsored dental care


2007    $399,000,000
2008    $768,000,000
2009    $961,000,000
2010    $1,235,000,000

In essence, Medicaid expenditures in Texas for dental services have gone up 300% in 4 years.  I suppose it’s a case of out of control kids going to sleep with Sippy cups.  Or theft on a monumental scale.  No wonder every dentist in the country wants to come to Texas to make his/her fortune!

Actually you don’t have to actually be a dentist to profit, just hire one.  I’m packing now, look out Texas, here I come.

Section 5 page 6 of Texas Medicaid and CHIP 8th edition – January 2011

Yet today, Texas announced it was “expanding” it’s Medicaid spending for dental care!  Texas taxpayers, your Texas government has lost it’s ever lovin’ mind!

Here ya go, Texas, bend over!  Oh wait, sorry, you already are bent over, well, stand back up and do it again.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Texas Citizens Picking Up The Tab for Unnecessary Orthodontics


Bio | Email 

DALLAS — Nobody has ever died from crooked teeth, some orthodontists say. 

Historically, straightening teeth with braces is viewed largely as a cosmetic procedure, done for cosmetic purposes.

Yet, last year, Texas taxpayers paid for braces for more than 120,000 children under Medicaid. The total bill was more than $184 million, which was far more than the next 10 states combined.

A News 8 investigation found that Navarro Orthodontix, which controls 11 clinics across the state, was paid more than $22 million in Medicaid last year. That's more than the entire state of California, which paid out $19.4 million.

All told, Texas paid out over $184 million for Medicaid orthodontics last year, which is nearly double the amount from 2008. The money is supposed to go for teeth determined to be so crooked they could handicap a child, usually between the ages of 12 and 19 according to state rules. Judging by the increased payouts, the teeth of Texas children are growing more crooked each year.

"There's a large population of people that are somehow qualifying for Medicaid treatment that seven years ago weren't qualifying," said Dr. Greg Greenberg, a Dallas orthodontist.

While the worsening economy has put more kids into poverty, it's also true that orthodontics is booming.

On Garland Road in Dallas, two clinics are paired off like gas stations across from one another. All Smiles Dental sits directly across the street from the Smiley Dental Clinic. Smiley's vans, used to pick up patients, prominently display "Medicaid Accepted" in their bright yellow paint scheme.

Last year, Smiley took in nearly $2 million in Medicaid through its affiliates in North Texas. All Smiles collected $7.5 million. Together, the two chains collected more than twice as much as the entire state of Illinois paid out last year.

In Tarrant and Parker counties, doctors Sheila Birth and Charles Stewart run six offices, and like all the clinics mentioned in this story, they employ several orthodontists. All told, they collected more than $5 million in Medicaid last year, according to state records. That's twice as much as all the providers in the state of Florida.

Birth declined to be interviewed on camera for this story. In e-mails, she pointed out that a lawsuit in Texas forced the state to expand its Medicaid coverage in 2007, and that states have differing criteria for Medicaid reimbursement, which makes comparison inappropriate.

Texas was successfully sued over Medicaid underpayment, dental care included, but orthodontic care was not part of the lawsuit. Texas specifically prohibits Medicaid reimbursement for cosmetic orthodontic care

Critics say the state simply doesn't evaluate claims.

"There's no accountability," said Dr. Larry Tadlock, an orthodontist with a private practice who's also an associate professor at Baylor Dental School in Dallas.