Letter: A tremendous gap in care
Granite State Independent Living is a statewide nonprofit organization which advocates and provides services for seniors and people with disabilities. Finding affordable, accessible oral health care for our consumers is a significant challenge.
While many senior citizens and people with disabilities have some form of health insurance through Medicaid or Medicare (or sometimes both), neither of these provides coverage for dental services for adults with disabilities or seniors, except in some medical emergencies in the case of Medicaid or as a necessary preparation for medical surgery in the case of Medicare. This means that in nearly all cases these populations receive little to no routine dental care. Oral needs go unaddressed until a person’s pain becomes so unbearable that he or she is forced to visit a hospital emergency room.
This tremendous gap in care must be addressed. For that reason, GSIL supports Senate Bill 193, which would study the pathways available for oral health care in our state. We need well-trained, certified providers working under a dentist who can perform the routine services that our seniors and people with disabilities need to stay healthy, as simple as filling cavities, before seeking care in a hospital emergency room becomes the individual’s only solution.
(The writer is regional advocacy facilitator for Granite State Independent Living.)