Medi-Cal Policy Institute Report Analyzes Dental Programs
According to a report released on Monday, the Geographic Managed Care dental program, which serves beneficiaries of Medi-Cal in Sacramento County, has a "greater accountability for quality" of care than Denti-Cal, the state's larger Medicaid dental program. Denti-Cal, however, provides treatment "more expeditiously." The GMC program, a pilot initiative established in 1994, provides dental care services to about 152,000 Sacramento County Medi-Cal beneficiaries each month through four dental managed care plans, while Denti-Cal serves about 4.75 million Medi-Cal beneficiaries throughout the rest of the state. According to the study, conducted by William M. Mercer Inc. for the Medi-Cal Policy Institute, the GMC program requires annual site inspection visits to 100% of provider offices, while Denti-Cal only requires visits to 2% of provider offices. The GMC program, unlike Denti-Cal, also provides "full credentialing" of dentists. In addition, the GMC program has a "significantly lower" ratio of members to specialty providers than Denti-Cal, "suggesting that access to specialists may be better," although both programs have "high" member-to-provider ratios compared to "similar programs in the dental industry." Both programs also "performed poorly" in providing preventive services -- with the GMC program offering "unacceptable" preventive care in 40% of cases surveyed, and Denti-Cal in 50%. However, Denti-Cal provided patients with "[n]ecessary" treatment "expeditiously" in 89% of cases studied, compared to 50% in the GMC program ("Geographic Managed Care Dental Program Evaluation" Executive Summary, April 2001). To view the executive summary of the report, go to http://www.medi-cal.org/publications/viewpub.cfm?itemID=3869. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the executive summary.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.