STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1698

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

 

RE: S.C.R. No. 188

 

 

 

Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirty-Second State Legislature

Regular Session of 2023

State of Hawaii

 

Sir:

 

Your Committees on Health and Human Services and Commerce and Consumer Protection, to which was referred S.C.R. No. 188 entitled:

 

"SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION URGING THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES' MED-QUEST DIVISION TO ADVOCATE THAT THE STATE INCREASE MEDICAID REIMBURSEMENTS TO DENTISTS AND, UPON AN INCREASE APPROVAL, TO PROACTIVELY INFORM BOTH DENTAL SERVICE PROVIDERS AND MEDICAID BENEFICIARIES OF NEW RATE PLANS,"

 

beg leave to report as follows:

 

The purpose and intent of this measure is to urge the Department of Human Services' Med-QUEST Division to advocate that the State increase Medicaid reimbursements to dentists and, upon an increase approval, proactively inform both dental service providers and Medicaid beneficiaries of new rate plans and covered services.

 

Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the Hawaii Public Health Institute and two individuals. Your Committees received comments on this measure from the Department of Human Services.

 

Your Committees find that in 2009, despite oral disease being a significant health problem that affects the overall health and well-being of many Hawaii residents, the State terminated coverage for all preventive and restorative dental care services for adult Medicaid recipients and reduced it to emergency-only care that is limited to pain relief, injuries, trauma, and tooth removal and extraction. In 2022, the Legislature approved funding to reinstate Medicaid dental care coverage for adult enrollees in the State for certain preventive, restorative, and denture procedures. According to testimony, nearly three hundred thousand Medicaid patients became eligible for this dental coverage beginning January 1, 2023. Your Committees find however, that the existing Medicaid reimbursement rates for dental care providers are lower than the actual cost of services, contributing to the significant shortage of dental care providers that provide the needed services to Medicaid patients, especially in rural and neighbor island communities. This measure will assist in promoting the recruitment and retention of dental care providers serving adult Medicaid enrollees in the State.

 

As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Health and Human Services and Commerce and Consumer Protection that are attached to this report, your Committees concur with the intent and purpose of S.C.R. No. 188 and recommend its adoption.

 

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Health and Human Services and Commerce and Consumer Protection,

 

________________________________

JARRETT KEOHOKALOLE, Chair

 

________________________________

JOY A. SAN BUENAVENTURA, Chair