According to a 2012 report published for dentists by the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine, which also covers hepatitis, health problems associated with HCV are numerous. The report, Dental and Orofacial Health and Hepatitis C contains a few graphic images including one of an oral Non-Hodgkins lymphoma lesion (fig. 7).
Medicare is no help because “Congress has not amended the dental exclusion since 1980 when it made an exception for inpatient hospital services when the dental procedure itself made hospitalization necessary.” The VA isn’t much better if a veteran is not 100% service-connected but there are a few exceptions (page 3). To download a Word document describing the VA’s classes of care, click: Class VI
Shamed Phoenix VA nicely states:
Established eligibility for dental care is required to receive dental care from the Dental Department. If you are without service-connected eligibility for dentistry, and your medical condition may be aggravated or adversely affected by your dental condition, you may be evaluated and treated upon consultation between your physician and the Dental Department….
Finger-wagging, Minneapolis VA adds:
…Be aware that this does not automatically make you eligible for routine care, and treatment may be limited.
(If you have a dental emergency, you must go to the ER first and may be charged $500+.)
If the treating physician won’t give a referral, can you write up a NOD? The VA’s new pay-for-your-own Dental Insurance programs, even the most expensive Met Life plan, has massively high co-pays for say, gum treatments. Delta is worse and throws in waiting periods.
After viewing the images of the awful HCV-related dental deterioration and oral diseases (beginning on page 4) such as Lichen Planus, lymphomas, it’s clear that the VA should provide all vets with active HCV or SVR veterans suitable dental care.
Do you have experiences in trying to get VA dental care while under care for HCV (or any other condition) that fits the above statement. If HCV treatments are causing dry mouth, and then painful gum disease, can you see a VA dentist? Or, if you are SVR, and due to gum disease caused by HCV and medications, are you out of luck when your teeth start falling out? Any advice for accessing VA dental care for non-100% SC vets will be appreciated.