California is Moving in the Right Direction
The California Legislature and Governor Jerry Brown took important steps in 2017 to improve and increase the availability of dental care for more than 13 million Medi-Cal children, seniors and low-income working families.
Last year’s state budget provided a first-time strategic investment to improve oral health care throughout California. First, the state dedicated $30 million to begin implementing a new and far-reaching oral health strategy. And provider reimbursement rates were increased for the first time in more than 18 years, beginning an expansion of access to oral health services for millions of children, seniors and working families who are Medi-Cal beneficiaries. These advancements were made possible by the allocation of $140 million in voter-enacted tobacco tax revenue passed under Proposition 56 in 2016 to support critical dental care and invest in the oral health care of all Californians.
An adult or child might have coverage through Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program serving low-income individuals and families, but that is not the same as having access to dental care.
While very welcome, the Prop. 56 40 percent rate increase has only made a small difference in Denti-Cal rates as they compare to commercial rates. Additionally, the rate increase does not apply to all treatments and procedures and excludes increased reimbursements for preventive procedures that serve as the foundation for improving oral health outcomes as well as badly-needed adult periodontal care. This leaves many providers on the sidelines waiting for a better reimbursement structure before opening their doors to treat Medi-Cal patients.
The Way Forward
Let’s commit to continue on the right course – making strides to increase access to dental services for the state’s most vulnerable kids, adults and seniors. Currently, approval for the reimbursement increase will expire on June 30, 2018 unless this use of tobacco taxes is extended in this year’s state budget.
California must make a multi-year commitment to increasing reimbursement rates in Denti-Cal so seniors, children and families can get high quality care when they need it most.
Transform Denti-Cal: Increase Access is an initiative to inform and urge lawmakers and Governor Brown’s administration to build upon last year’s investments into Denti-Cal reimbursement rates to continue making progress in increasing access to dental care for millions of low-income working Californians.
Join us, along with patients, business leaders and the health care community to honor the will of voters and ensure Proposition 56 revenues are used as voters intended.
If you have any questions, please contact TransformDentiCal@gmail.com.
Get the Facts
Help us Transform Denti-Cal by having all the facts. Click the button to download our latest fact sheet to learn more.
Capitol Weekly: Priority: Boosting Denti-Cal reimbursements
“A sustained effort is needed to continue to chip away at the challenges of ensuring access to oral health care. The Prop. 56 funding is set to be reexamined each year, rather than committed for the foreseeable future. That means all of the current progress could be undone and any future progress unrealized if we don’t protect those investments in this year’s budget.”