L.A. County Seniors Face Barriers to Dental Care, Other Medical Services
Significant percentages of older adults in Los Angeles County said they lack dental insurance or have problems accessing dental care, according to a new survey by city and county agencies on aging, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The survey -- conducted by the Los Angeles County Community and Services Department, Commission on Aging and city Department of Aging -- found that nearly two-thirds of the 16,500 older residents polled had inadequate dental coverage or had no dental insurance at all.
Nearly 20% also said they lacked affordable dental care, and nearly one-third said they had not received a dental exam in the past three years.
According to the Times, accessing dental care could grow more difficult if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) proposal to eliminate Denti-Cal benefits for adults is enacted as part of an effort to address the California budget deficit. Denti-Cal is the dental program under the state's Medicaid program.
Liz Snow, chief strategy officer for the California Dental Association, said the situation "is absolutely going to get worse" if the Denti-Cal program is cut in the budget.
The poll also found that among seniors in Los Angeles County:
- Nearly 50% do not have prescription drug coverage;
- Almost 20% lacked transportation to medical appointments; and
- About 33% had not received a recommended flu shot.
Respondents completed the survey between October 2006 and June 2007 (LaGanga, Los Angeles Times, 5/22). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.