July 08, 2021
Anticipating the upcoming Statewide Medicaid benefit expansion, the Augusta Regional Dental Clinic launched a project to increase its capacity. Watch this piece from NBC29 to learn more about our effort in favor of Medicaid enrollees. https://www.nbc29.com/2021/07/08/augusta-regional-dental-clinic-is-bumping-up-staffing-anticipated-40-growth/
On March 30th, 2021, Governor Northam announced a dental benefit expansion for Medicaid enrollees. Thanks to a $17.5 million budget allocated by the State Medicaid agency, over 830,000 Virginians will soon enjoy truly comprehensive oral health coverage. Much needed routine care such as cleanings, cavities fillings, and root canals will now be available to Medicaid enrollees leading to better overall health. Untreated dental problems can indeed lead to chronic pain, tooth loss, severe infections, and even heart attack or stroke.
“ We could not be more excited about this expansion”, said Sophie Parson, ARDC Executive Director. “It is a true recognition of the importance of oral health and preventative dental care. While most dentists recommend a cleaning twice a year, this service is not currently covered by Medicaid plans. Worse, some plans do not cover fillings, just extractions, leaving Medicaid patients with very few options to take care of their mouth and keep their teeth as long as possible. This will all change on July 1st.”
Anticipating an increased demand for dental care, the ARDC kicked off an expansion project in April 2021. The project involved the recruitment of an additional full time dentist and the launch of a new dental hygiene program. The goal of this project is to offer over 210 new appointment slots per month to Medicaid patients from the Staunton, Augusta County and Waynesboro area.
The clinic’s new dentist started on June 15th and the new hygiene program will begin early July. The ARDC also hired 3 supporting dental assistants. This project will allow the clinic to increase its capacity by 40% over the summer 2021, reduce wait time for patients, and accept new ones.
“ This benefit expansion would mean nothing for our patients if we did not build the capacity to address the demand it will create. This is why we decided to plan ahead of the July 1st date and increase our capacity” reported Mrs. Parson. “Our entire staff, from our clinical team to our front desk colleagues as well as our Board of Directors has worked tirelessly over the past few months to make this project a reality. After a few weeks of onboarding and training our new hires, we feel ready and cannot wait to serve more neighbors in need”.