Behavioral health conditions, including mental illness and substance use disorders, are widespread among Medicaid’s high-need, high-cost recipients, many of whom also have chronic physical conditions.Read More
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By working at a community clinic, Dr. Macall is able to treat many individuals from underserved populations. The clinic takes patients that are unable to seek dental care elsewhere, including DENT patients.
Dr. Macall believes the biggest health challenge facing the region is access. If community clinics and providers were not present, a large percentage of the region’s population would not be able to get treatment at all. But even then, it’s not enough. Many private dentists that took Medicaid have stopped because of low reimbursements and challenging paperwork.
Eastern Washington has a huge population of individuals who have dental insurance but are unable to get treatment. Because of this, many people go weeks and months with severely decayed teeth, pain, and sometimes infections. For a lot of patients, Macall is the last resource. The best feeling, for him, is being able to say, “I can help you,” and seeing the excitement and joy on his patients’ faces.
When Tina Shute found herself with a broken tooth, she headed to the ER. Life circumstances had caused Shute to go without dental insurance and regular dental care. Even though her tooth caused excruciating pain, Shute put off seeking treatment for several weeks.
When she finally did visit the ER, the only option was to pull the entire tooth. As she was leaving the ER, Shute was given the number of a dental advocate at the DENT program, who got her into a dental appointment right away. Shute even had car issues, so her dental advocate drove her to the appointment.
Since then, Shute has noticed a huge improvement in her oral health and in her overall health. She is no longer in pain, and DENT is helping her take care of other dental issues until she can afford to have a regular dentist.