Public Officials Increase Scrutiny of Sacramento County’s Dental Program
Public officials are increasing their scrutiny of Sacramento County's managed care dental plan for low-income children, the Sacramento Bee reports (Bazar, Sacramento Bee, 3/10).
Under Sacramento County's mandatory managed care program, the state pays private dental plans a fee each month to provide coverage for more than 110,000 child beneficiaries of Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program.
On March 7, Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) asked Department of Health Care Services Director Toby Douglas to take immediate action to improve the dental program following a previous Sacramento Bee article.
The article scrutinized the dental program for long wait times and low rates of dental care among beneficiaries (California Healthline, 2/29).
In the 2010-2011 fiscal year, fewer than one-third of Sacramento children with Medi-Cal visited a dentist, compared with a rate of nearly 50% statewide.
Political Scrutiny Increases
Several public officials are taking steps to review or provide alternatives to the plan, including:
- Brent Barnhart -- director of the state Department of Managed Health Care -- who informed members of a Senate budget subcommittee that his agency will conduct a review of the dental plans participating in the Sacramento County managed care program;
- Assembly member Richard Pan (D-Natomas), who urged DHCS to give Sacramento families enrolled in Medi-Cal the option to leave the managed care dental plan for a fee-for-service alternative; and
- Members of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, who on Tuesday plan to discuss the dental program and hear recommendations from Sacramento County's Public Health Advisory Board on ways to improve access and care (Sacramento Bee, 3/10).