The Minneapolis Star Tribune is reporting about recently released information raising serious questions about the misuse of Critical Access Dental funding in Minnesota. While the story begins by featuring Dr. Vacharee Peterson and one of our sister non-profits, Community Dental Care, the second half of the story contains startling information about the reimbursement practices of HealthPartners, the Bloomington, MN health plan that controls a significant share of Minnesota’s Critical Access Dental program. The Star Tribune reports that, according to state data, HealthPartners is paying its own dental clinics double the amount per visit that it pays other critical access providers, like Apple Tree, for services to Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare recipients. Because HealthPartners is the only organization in Minnesota that operates as both an insurance plan and as a dental provider, the high reimbursements it has chosen to pay itself raise serious questions about a conflict of interest.
We are deeply concerned about this situation and will work with other dental stakeholders and state legislators in an effort to fully investigate the situation.
Apple Tree Dental has long been a proponent of including Dental Therapists as a critical part of dental care teams. And, Apple