Pew study reveals dentist shortages in Alabama - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Pew study reveals dentist shortages in Alabama

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Dr. David Cawley with Dental Concepts, LLC on Carmichael Road in Montgomery sees about 200 patients a week including medicaid patients that the recent pew study shows many dentists won't accept.

"I'm getting Medicaid patients that are driving 50 to 60 miles one way who are on the outskirts that are needing to find a private practice or a group setting office that will accept," Dr. Cawley said.

Dentists cite multiple factors for why, including low reimbursement rates and burdensome administrative procedures.

"[Officials need] to make sure that the compensation is enough where the dentists who is serving the poor and the under served will not go out of business," Dr. Cawley said.

Alabama's under served population is what puts the state high on the list at number three. The study reveals 24% of the state's residents live in shortage areas and have limited expectation of receiving dental care. Dr. Cawley believes one reason for the decline in dentists is the high debt associated with dental school and little to no incentive for becoming a dentist.

[DOCUMENT: In Search of Dental Care (.pdf)]

"And you say you know what we will help you with your education. I think it wouldn't be such a leap of faith," Dr. Cawley said.

Mississippi ranked number one for the worst dentist shortage, followed by Louisiana. Florida, Tennessee and South Carolina were other southern states that made the top ten list.

Copyright 2013  WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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