Hurdles to Dental Care for Disabled Californians Could Follow Budget Cuts
Californians with disabilities could encounter further hurdles accessing dental care because of cuts to Denti-Cal reimbursement rates slated to take effect July 1, the Los Angeles Times reports. Denti-Cal is the dental program under the state's Medicaid program, Medi-Cal.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has approved 10% reductions in Medi-Cal payments to health care providers. In addition, Schwarzenegger has proposed eliminating dental benefits for many adult Medi-Cal beneficiaries.
According to the Times, many adults with disabilities receive benefits through Medi-Cal.
Paul Glassman, co-director of the Pacific Center for Special Care at the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry in San Francisco, said finding dental care for patients with disabilities can be a challenge, in part because few dentists undergo specific training for treating patients with disabilities. Low Denti-Cal reimbursement rates further exacerbate the problem, he said.
In addition, some people with disabilities require general anesthesia in a hospital setting to undergo even basic dental care, and many hospitals are scaling back their dental services or eliminating them altogether (Engel, Los Angeles Times, 6/4).