Posts Tagged: Denti-Cal
A youngster getting a dental exam. (Photo: Shutterstock)
OPINION: The increase in reimbursement rates for Denti-Cal providers – the first in 18 years – sent a clear signal that we may finally be within striking distance of increasing access to care for the state’s most vulnerable and underserved populations. For this, California’s elected leaders should be commended. But this is only the first step.
A patient is treated at a dental clinic. (Photo: sirtravelalot, via Shutterstock)
Susan Inglett’s dental coverage changed just after she got a root canal on one of her top teeth. It was 2009, and California was in the midst of a budget crisis. To cut costs, Medi-Cal, the state health insurance program for low-income residents, eliminated non-emergency dental benefits for adults.
A youngster pays a visit to the dentist. (Photo: Wavebreakmedia)
California lawmakers are considering a bill that would double reimbursement rates for Denti-Cal providers in order to entice more dentists to accept the insurance that covers low-income residents. The hope is to get dental care to more people – especially children. According to recent reports by the state auditor and the Little Hoover Commission, less than 38 percent of the 5 million eligible children actually received Denti-Cal care in 2014.
A state review of a dental program that serves low-income Californians shows that significantly fewer dentists are accepting those patients, despite a surge in demand. According to the California Department of Health Care Services report, released July 1, the number of dentists accepting Medi-Cal patients fell by 14.5 percent between 2008 and 2013. That’s a loss of 1,354 providers for the Denti-Cal program, which is the dental portion of Medi-Cal.
A youngster on his visit to the dentist. (Photo: Wavebreakmedia, via Shutterstock)
What if I told you there was a straightforward way to raise kids’ grades, increase funding for schools and cut costly emergency room visits? You’d probably tell me to get my head checked by a doctor. And I’d tell you to see a dentist.