Sacramento Dentists See Drop in Business After Economic Downturn
Dentists in the Sacramento area and across California are reporting a drop in business because more patients are forgoing treatments that they cannot afford as a result of the economic downturn, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Details of Dentists' Struggles
Cathy Levering, executive director of the Sacramento District Dental Society, said dentists in the Sacramento area have reported a drop in business of as much as 25% to 30% over the last three years. She said those figures are about the same as statewide statistics.
In addition to the economic recession, state cuts to Denti-Cal, declining rates of insurance coverage and the lack of no-cost dental clinics also have contributed to the decline in business. Denti-Cal is the dental program under Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program.
In 2009, dentists' patient loads were reduced further when the state eliminated Denti-Cal coverageÂ for adults, meaning only children and pregnant women are eligible for coverage.
The decrease in business means that patients are going without treatment or are waiting until they have a more serious condition before seeking treatment, the Bee reports.
Gabrielle Rasi, a dentist in Carmichael, said she is concerned that patients' decisions to delay or eliminate routine checkups and cleanings can lead to the need for more complicated treatment.
Many dentists are trying to be more flexible in providing financing options for patients.
Meanwhile, the downturn in the economy and decreased business have led many older dentists to delay retirement, making it more difficult for younger dentists to find jobs (Gonzales, Sacramento Bee, 10/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.