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Dentists Owed Over $200 Million in Illinois

Article

Dentists in Illinois are owed more than $200 million in back payments from Delta Dental of Illinois, according to a recent report in the Chicago Business Journal. The amount pertains to services performed on state employees between 2016 and 2017. The late payments are having a dire effect on dentists in the state.

Dentists in Illinois are owed more than $200 million for services provided to state employees.

According to a recent report in the Chicago Business Journal, the state of Illinois is on the hook for more than $200 million that’s owed to dentists across the state. The sum covers a variety of dental services provided to state employees in 2016 and 2017, many of which are covered by Delta Dental of Illinois. To make ends meet while waiting on payment, many dentists are cutting their own salaries and taking out additional loans just to keep their practices open.

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Overall, Illinois owes more than $13.02 billion to various businesses and organizations. As state vendors wait to receive payment, the state governor and members of the General Assembly are at an impasse regarding the state’s budget.

Many dentists are suffering while they wait for the state to reimburse them. Kent Splaingard, D.D.S., told the Journal, “We’ve gone all of ‘16 and the first part of ‘17 with no claims paid.”

He believes his practice can make it through the payment waiting period, but is still currently owed over $62,000 by Delta Dental of Illinois.

Kevin Patterson, D.D.S., is owed more than $200,000 since the state stopped paying him for common dental procedures, like teeth cleanings and crowns. To keep his practice open, he’s taken out almost $60,000 in loans.

In response to the budget dilemma, Senator Scott Bennet has proposed legislation that would allow dentists who haven’t been paid for six months following submission of a claim to require state insurance-covered patients to pay upfront for any and all services. The Illinois State Dental Society, a lobbying group, is also advocating for a program that would allow dentists to sell unpaid bills to a participating financial institution. The institution would pay some of the bills immediately, and dentists would collect the remaining funds when the state finally pays its bills.

As dentists wait for solutions, their frustration with the state continues to grow. Splaingard says, “For a young practitioner, three or four years out of school with a lot of debt, having to wait 16 or 18 months for payment may mean they have to borrow a lot more money to keep their practice going.” His sentiment is echoed by Patterson: “It's just irresponsible what (the state is) doing. It's forcing dentists to loan the state money."

Discover more Dentist’s Money Digest® news here.

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