Title: Analysis of InsureKidsNow.gov Dental Providers in New York State
Author(s): Chin et al.
Journal: Pediatric Dentistry
Issue: Sept/Oct 13
Background: The Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA) reauthorizes the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), under title XXI of the Social Security Act, through 2013. CHIPRA adds $33 billion in federal funds for children’s coverage and expected to provide coverage to 4.1 million children who otherwise would not have been insured.
Included within CHIPRA are several dental provisions including pediatric dental coverage guarantee that ensures states to continue their existing programs and funds expansion for low income uninsured children. CHIPRA includes additional oral health provisions that address quality assurance, early prevention, expansion of the safety net, and most notably, provision of mandatory information for beneficiaries.
The national list of Medicaid and Children Health Insurance Program (CHIP) dental providers is required to be regularly updated with information that will assist families of eligible young children to identify and schedule appointments for services within their local community. InsureKidsNow.go (IKN) is a publicly accessible website that was created to satisfy this CHIRPA requirement. Available in both English and Spanish, IKN provides information on frequently asked questions, and a search menu to find providers by state, zip code, or individual address location.
Methods: Information on 4,634 dental provider locations was obtained by collapsing 21,921 listings. 160 locations were randomly telephoned to verify consistency and provision of pediatric restorative treatment. Dental provider locations to poor child population ratios were compared.
Results: Over 90 percent of locations were in less than a third of NYS counties. New York City/Long Island locations had 5.68 higher odds of accepting new pediatric patients compared to locations in the rest of NYS counties. Of the phone numbers called, 22 percent were invalid. Nearly 40 percent of valid calls were inconsistent with IKN. Over 90 percent of counties had at least one IKN dentist. The median child-in-poverty to provider ratio was 85:1.
Conclusion: Improved oversight of InSureKidsNow.gov is required to ensure validity and usefulness. Research on the quantity and type of child Medicaid/CHIP dental procedures in private practice is needed to accurately assess dental access.