Five Years after Boy Dies from Toothache, Maryland Medicaid Dental Care Is on Mend

Publication: The Washington Post

Author: Katherine Driessen

02/15/2012 - In 2007, Maryland’s Medicaid dental-care program came under fire after a Prince George’s County boy died from an untreated tooth infection that spread lethal bacteria to his brain. Five years later, the same system that failed 12-year-old Deamonte Driver is now touted as one of the best in the nation, officials said Wednesday at a children’s dental care panel on Capitol Hill.

Health-care representatives from across the country addressed the state of children’s dental care at the event hosted by Pew’s Children’s Dental Care campaign. Maryland’s efforts at reform, spurred in large part by Deamonte’s death, received top marks in a 2011 Pew Charitable Trusts report released in May.

During the hearing, which became emotional at times, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) pointed out that Deamonte would have been 17 this year, “but he’s gone,” Cummings said. “No more birthdays, no more Christmas, no graduation from high school. Gone.”


Fast forward to 2010, the most recent year for which Pew has released dental-care data, and almost 42 percent of Medicaid-enrolled children in Maryland were getting dental treatment. Last year, Maryland became one of only five states that Pew awarded an “A” for reimbursement of dental fees accrued when treating Medicaid patients.

Read the full article, Five Years after Boy Dies from Toothache, Maryland Medicaid Dental Care Is on Mend, on The Washington Post's Web site.

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