MA Dentists Alliance for Quality Care conducted a study to determine wait times for routine dental care visits in the most underserved county of MA - Berkshire County. This county is most often mentioned by legislators as having a significant access to care deficit.
There has been much confusion about access to care in dentistry. In MA, we have the highest number of dentists per capita in the USA as well as three dental schools. As our legislature debates a new mid-level provider for dentistry, it would be prudent to better examine the data that exhibits our residents cannot access dental care.
All general and pediatric dental offices accepting MA Health Insurance in Berkshire County (12 offices with multiple providers) were called by a "prospective patient" and asked how long it would take to book a routine dental appointment for the caller and/or the caller's child. The caller made it clear that neither patient was having an emergency.
Wait times for routine care in general dentistry offices were 7 working days on average, with 2 offices reporting same day availability. Wait times for pediatric specialists were 4 working days on average.
With minimal wait times for routine dental care in Berkshire County, there is no lack of access to dental care in this area.
We urge you to VOTE AGAINST Bills S.1169/H.2474, creating a sub-standard class of dental providers that will endanger the public. Instead consider providing screening and education in schools and referring children to the many MA Health providers that already exist in MA.
Note: 7 other clinics were listed with MA Health, but they were not accepting new patients.
* 0 days wait for adult/20 day wait for child
** Open 1 day a week