Factors affecting dentist participation in a state Medicaid program.
Provider participation is one factor affecting access to care for Medicaid recipients. There is evidence that providers are increasingly limiting their acceptance of Medicaid patients. Reasons cited for physicians and dentists not participating in Medicaid include low reimbursement rates, excessive paperwork, denial of reimbursement, and bureaucratic complexities. Telephone interviews were conducted with 92 dentists in California to determine factors affecting their decisions to participate in the California Medicaid (Medi-Cal) program. Low fees, denial of payment, and broken appointments by patients were identified as the three most important problems with the program. Non-participating dentists were more concerned about broken appointments, and complicated paperwork while less likely to believe the complexity of the program had recently decreased. Participating dentists were more concerned about the lack of services covered by Medi-Cal. The fact that participating and non-participating dentist have similar concerns about most aspects of the program may indicate that dentists who currently participate in Medi-Cal may become non-participants if problems with the program are not addressed.