The Louisiana Department of Health in June announced plans to include dental services as a benefit in some Bayou Health Plans managed care plans, and requested stakeholder feedback on enhancing Medicaid fee-for-service dental care.

Following a forum at the LSU School of Dentistry in July, LDH has held ongoing meetings with dental stakeholders about its plans to transform the Medicaid dental program, and will soon announce final plans on how dental care will become a part of Bayou Health as well as how legacy Medicaid dental benefits will be administered. LDH anticipates releasing its final dental reform concept in the coming weeks with a timeline for implementation in early 2013.

Regarding provider contracts with a Health Plan network, LDH will have to review both the Health Plans' contracts with their dental plans as well as the standard language of contracts the Health Plans will use to contract with dental providers before the Health Plans can begin contracting with dentists. At a minimum, dental providers' contracts must include the applicable language outlined in the Bayou Health provider checklists, which are available at www.MakingMedicaidBetter.com under the "Providers" section. LDH will give dental providers additional guidance when plans to move this benefit into managed care are finalized, including a timeline for approval of the contracts.

Providers are encouraged to visit the Bayou Health website, www.MakingMedicaidBetter.com. LDH updates this website frequently. Visitors to the site also can review information about Bayou Health, subscribe to LDH's newsletter for frequent email updates and submit questions or comments electronically. Stakeholders can also email any comments or questions to bayouhealth@la.gov.