Few Dentists Treat Some of Amarillo's Poorest Kids

Higher state payouts are still not solving a dentist shortage for some of Amarillo's poorest children.

Texas increased and in some cases doubled its reimbursements to dentists who see kids on government health programs. But so far that has not convinced more doctors to sign up. One local dentist says beyond payment delays and application hassles, some doctors are doubtful about signing up because the state has pulled the plug on some payments in the past.

"There are probably some practitioners out there who felt like they were a little bit betrayed.   They had taken these patients in, they become part of their practice and all of a sudden they're not there anymore.

I'm sure there's a little reluctance from some providers to sign up for that reason."  The Coalition of Health Services says it's too soon to tell whether dentists will respond to the state's September reimbursement raise.

A program director there says new recruits could show up in Amarillo as soon as next month.