On November 21, the National Council on Disability (NCD), a nonpartisan, independent federal agency released its issue brief, “Neglected for too Long: Dental Care for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.”
NCD's issue brief provides insight concerning the lack of dental care many individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) continue to experience due to a shortage of properly trained dental care providers. The brief also explores the glaring neglect for the protection of people with disabilities found within the American Dental Association’s Principles of Ethics & Code of Professional Conduct, generally.
“For too long, many individuals with I/DD have faced significant challenges in finding dental care providers able or willing to treat them, leaving those patients to have to drive several hours away to find a capable clinic or forgo care altogether," said Clyde Terry, NCD Chairperson. “The effect proper dental care has on preventing larger health concerns and costs cannot be underestimated.”
Quick Report Takes:
- According to a series of studies, 75% of dental students reported little to no preparation in providing care to people with I/DD.
- Approximately 60 percent of people in the United States with I/DD rely on Medicaid for their health insurance coverage and Medicaid’s low reimbursement rates often dissuade providers from taking on patients with I/DD who may require more time to treat.
- The American Dental Association’s Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct does not prohibit a practitioner from refusing to accept a patient based on his or her disability,* but does prohibit other forms of discrimination.
Policy Brief: The NCD Policy Brief on dental care for patients with I/DD is available for download at: https://ncd.gov/publications-policy-brief/2017/dental-issue-brief.