SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Dentists in South Dakota who provide service to Medicaid patients should get better reimbursement rates under a bill that has been approved in the state Legislature.

HB1103 was sent to Governor Kristi Noem’s office for her signature on Feb. 15.

“The dentists of South Dakota are encouraged by the level of support we received, from both the House and Senate, in our effort to improve the dental Medicaid program in South Dakota,” said Paul Knecht, the executive director of the South Dakota Dental Association.  “We look forward to better dental care access for Medicaid patients.”

The SDDA supported the bill which calls for regular reviews and improvements to Medicaid reimbursement for dental services.

 Fewer dentists are accepting patients with Medicaid insurance because the reimbursement is so low it doesn’t always cover costs, Knecht said in a Jan. 27 KELOLAND News story.

The Health Policy Institute said the reimbursement rate for Medicaid for dental services is 62% of what private insurance would pay in South Dakota. For example, the mean charge for a periodic oral evaluation is $49 and Medicaid reimburses a dentist $29.71 for the service, according to the South Dakota Dental Association.

HB1103 says the South Dakota Department of Social Services shall determine reimbursement amounts based on current normal and customer dental fees in the state. The department can use third parties to help determine reimbursement rates.

Knecht said the SDDA will be working with Social Services on better reimbursement rates.

Medicaid provides reimbursement to at least 130,000 South Dakota residents.

In a different Medicaid proposal, the state will be voting on Medicaid expansion in the November election.