Effects of Cuts in Medicaid on Dental-Related Visits and Costs at a Safety-Net Hospital

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We used data from Boston Medical Center, Massachusetts, to determine whether dental-related emergency department (ED) visits and costs increased when Medicaid coverage for adult dental care was reduced in July 2010. In this retrospective study of existing data, we examined the safety-net hospital’s dental-related ED visits and costs for 3 years before and 2 years after Massachusetts Health Care Reform. Dental-related ED visits increased 2% the first and 14% the second year after Medicaid cuts. Percentage increases were highest among older adults, minorities, and persons receiving charity care, Medicaid, and Medicare.

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