- Because of the lack of dentists who serve adults with disabilities (intellectual, developmental, autism, etc.); we hear stories about long delays in dental care which result in emergency room visits and extractions.
- Because even fewer dentists are available for those on MassHealth – imagine the impact not only on our constituents but on all families who rely on MassHealth dental coverage for their children and themselves.
- Because prevention and ongoing monitoring are neglected.
- Because it’s so bad that the state has a contract with Tufts Dental Clinic (thank you, Tufts!) to address the needs of thousands of our constituents. We may always need that additional support, but it will never be adequate to meet the needs of all our constituents, who should have local options regardless.
This is a national problem – see this 2016 NPR story. Maura Sullivan, Director of Government Affairs, has been working with the Pew Foundation, Senator Harriette Chandler, and others to pass S. 1169. This bill would develop a new category of dental therapists who would be quasi-independent under general supervision. The bill also requires their training to include working with our constituents. The Arc moved that clause forward.