On April 14, the Massachusetts Senate Committee on Ways & Means released a fiscal year 2011 budget which calls for cuts to MassHealth adult dental benefits. These cuts would eliminate restorative services for the 700,000 adults on MassHealth and leave extractions as the only course of treatment for those in need of dental care. Although preventative services are protected, denying these benefits will cause pain and suffering and force many to use emergency services, which will only serve to diminish the savings created by the proposed cuts.
As of April 22, 31 state representatives had signed on to Amendment 547, filed by State Representative John W. Scibak, which opposes the cuts. Dean Jeffrey W. Hutter along with the deans of Harvard School of Dental Medicine and Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, and the President of Forsyth Institute have all come together to sign a letter voicing their support of Amendment 547 to be sent to the appropriate legislature.
“The elimination of restorative services for adults on MassHealth will dramatically impact the flow and variety of patients available to our students, reducing the quality of clinical education here at GSDM,” said Associate Dean for Clinical Services Dr. Stephen DuLong. “I strongly encourage every member of the GSDM community to take action against the proposed budget cuts. Faculty and staff who reside in Massachusetts should contact their representative in the State House and everyone—including students—should try to attend Beacon Hill Day on May 5.”
Beacon Hill Day will take place on Wednesday, May 5. The event is complimentary for all students but registration is required. More information—including event details, legislative priorities, and the registration form—is available online.