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The Impact of an Innovative Reform to the South Carolina Dental Medicaid System


  • Paul J. Nietert,

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    • Address correspondence to Paul J. Nietert, Ph.D., Medical University of South Carolina, 135 Cannon St., Suite 403, P.O. Box 250837, Charleston, SC 29425. W. David Bradford, Ph.D., is with the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC. Linda M. Kaste, D.D.S., Ph.D., is with the College of Dentistry (MC 850), University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL.

  • W. David Bradford,

  • Linda M. Kaste


Objective. To evaluate the effectiveness of an innovative reform in 2000 to the Dental Medicaid program in South Carolina.

Data Sources/Study Setting. South Carolina Medicaid enrollment data and dental services utilization data from 1998, 1999, and 2000.

Study Design. The study was observational and retrospective in nature. Quarterly data were used in general linear regression models to examine time trends in the percent of Medicaid enrollees ages 21 and younger who received dental services. Trends in the total number of dental procedures provided per Medicaid enrollee were also analyzed, with sub-analyses performed on the four most frequent categories of procedures.

Data Collection/Extraction Methods. Data were provided by the state's Quality Improvement Organization.

Principal Findings. From 1998 to 1999, there was a downward trend in the number and percent of Medicaid enrollees ages 21 and younger receiving dental services and in the total number of services provided. This trend was dramatically reversed in 2000.

Conclusions. The January 2000 dental Medicaid reform in South Carolina had marked impact on Medicaid enrollees' access to dental services.