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Company Won’t Suspend Dental Services In Kansas Nursing Homes

An Oklahoma company said Thursday it has reached an agreement with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and won’t have to suspend dental services to about 360 Kansans in nursing homes.

Leaders of Sterling Dental said earlier in the week that they would halt services to Kansans whose Medicaid applications are pending because of payment delays caused by a persistent backlog of applications.

In a statement released Thursday, the company’s president, David Goubeaux, said Sterling had received assurances from Mike Randol, director of KDHE’s Division of Health Care Finance, that its outstanding claims would be resolved by February.

“We are excited that upon completion of the adjustments next Wednesday that no dental services will be suspended and that we will be able to continue to deliver the dental care needed to the residents in nursing homes in Kansas,” Goubeaux said.

Goubeaux thanked Rep. Dan Hawkins, a Republican from Wichita who chairs the House Health and Human Services Committee, and several nursing home advocacy groups for intervening on behalf of residents.

Rachel Monger, director of government affairs for one of the advocacy groups, LeadingAge Kansas, also said Hawkins played a key role.

“Obviously we are pleased that KDHE responded so quickly,” Monger said. “This backlog has been going on for more than a year now. To hear that there are new problems popping up was disappointing, but we’re not going to complain about quick resolution.”

Monger said nursing homes continue to hope for a resolution to their own financial struggles caused by the backlog, which began in the summer of 2015 and has begun to tick up again after steadily declining last year.

Andy Marso is a reporter for KMUW's Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and KCUR covering health, education and politics in Kansas. You can reach him on Twitter @andymarso.