Steinberg Seeks Review of Sacramento County Dental Plan for Children
On Monday, Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) sent a letter to Toby Douglas -- director of the state Department of Health Care Services -- calling for a review of Sacramento County's dental care plan for low-income children, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The letter follows a Sacramento Bee article produced by the California HealthCare Foundation's Center for Health Reporting. The Center is supported by a grant from CHCF, which publishes California Healthline.
The article scrutinized the dental program for long wait times and low rates of dental care among beneficiaries.
Dental Plan Details
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.
Steinberg wrote that specific cases cited in the Sacramento Bee article, as well as DHCS' own data, make it "abundantly clear that prevention and treatment services are woefully inadequate for those children most in need."
He asked state officials to ramp up their effort to monitor dental plans under contract with the program.
He also requested that officials withhold payments or cancel contracts with plans that do not provide proper access to care or meet other performance standards.
Steinberg also noted thatÂ issues with the program "raise the overarching concern of whether or not the state is prepared and equipped to proceed with any Medi-Cal managed care program expansions this year as proposed" in Gov. Jerry Brown's (D) fiscal year 2012-2013Â budget plan released in January (Van Oot, Sacramento Bee, 2/14).
A Sacramento Bee editorial states that California health officials should "require dental plans they contract with to provide promised services." It continues that if the plans fall short, then "officials should stop paying them and send the money to others who will" (Sacramento Bee, 2/14).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.