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A National Study of Dental Services in HCBS Waivers

By Carli Friedman, CQL Director of Research

Despite literature that highlights the dental needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), very few of these people receive adequate dental care. To determine whether Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) waivers address the dental-services gaps left by Medicaid state plans, this study examined the dental services proposed for fiscal year (FY) 2011 in 95 Medicaid HCBS waiver applications relating to individuals with IDD. Less than 20% of the waivers examined offered any type of dental service. This study also examined 88 FY 2010 HBCS waiver applications to determine changes from 2010 to 2011. Although increases were found from FY 2010 to FY 2011 in both spending for dental services and number of proposed participants, our results indicate that only a fraction of states are using HCBS waivers to address gaps in dental coverage for adults with IDD.

This article is a summary of the following journal manuscript: Friedman, C., Rizzolo, M. C., & Schindler, A. (2014). Dental services: A nationwide study of Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waiver service allocation. Inclusion, 2(1), 17-36.