Latest California Healthline Stories
California officials should have obtained federal approval before they cut reimbursement rates for dental hygienists who serve frail Californians living in nursing homes and board-and-care facilities, a judge has ruled.
Dental hygienists who treat frail and elderly residents in nursing homes and other facilities are dropping out of California’s publicly funded dental program for the poor because of recent changes that cut their pay and create more administrative hurdles.
A shift in dental guidelines encourages first dental visits for infants as young as 6 months, or when the first baby teeth emerge. That makes some dentists uncomfortable.
Denti-Cal has been criticized for not paying dentists enough to care for low-income Medicaid recipients.
Legislation would raise payments for Denti-Cal providers, using revenue from the state tobacco tax recently passed by California voters.
Some dental clinics are expanding their hours to meet demand, but can an already stressed system satisfy the needs of children who haven’t seen a dentist in years?
The top official at Denti-Cal, a program for low-income California residents, sat down with California Healthline to discuss what her agency is doing to address the severe shortcomings highlighted in a recent report.
“Thousands of toddlers have mouthfuls of cavities … People with state dental benefits deserve a government program that works.”