At the urging of 112 lawmakers, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) expanded Medicare coverage of medically necessary oral and dental treatment. The move will affect an estimated 24 million people who currently have no access to dental coverage.
Pacific Dental Service (PDS) Foundation started this journey with a then-small group of partners more than 20 years ago. Today, the partnership that advocated for this expansion is 230 members strong, including the American Medical Association, the American Heart Association and the American Public Health Association.
“This is a great day and proud moment for me personally and professionally. Medically necessary dental care will save money and reduce hospitalization. And more importantly, it will save lives,” said Stephen E. Thorne IV, founder and CEO of Pacific Dental Services.
As a coalition, PDS has advocated for this legislation, explaining that expansion of medically necessary dental coverage will save lives, save money and reduce hospitalizations. It is estimated that providing coverage for the treatment of periodontal disease for people with heart disease, stroke, or diabetes could save Medicare $63.5 billion over 10 years. This is because the Mouth-Body Connection is stronger than many people realize. Oral/dental bacteria are a major contributing factor in cardiac care, diabetes, dementia and other health issues.