The California Dental Association (CDA) is calling for immediate action from the state to reform the Denti-Cal dental Medicaid program after Western Dental announced it will stop accepting new patients enrolled in the program.
Western Dental, one of California's largest dental Medicaid providers, announced last week that it will stop accepting new Denti-Cal patients as of June 1 because of low reimbursement rates and increased demand.
The CDA is calling for immediate action from the state to address its broken Denti-Cal system, which fails to provide adequate access to care for low-income Californians.
"CDA understands Western Dental's difficult decision. The state's lack of action is resulting in another devastating blow to patients and only further exacerbates the existing crisis in access to dental care," stated CDA President Walt Weber, DDS, in a press release. "It is disheartening to see the negative effects of our state's failing Denti-Cal system, and CDA will continue to advocate for immediate improvements."
According to CDA, the state has yet to address the Denti-Cal program deficiencies that have been the subject of recent legislative hearings and a highly critical state audit that exposed the program's flaws. The association is urging the administration and the state Legislature to begin fixing the program, including conducting an accurate assessment of the number of active providers and increasing reimbursement rates.