Calif. coalition launches effort against RDHAP policy change

A California oral health coalition has launched a statewide effort to prevent proposed Medicaid policy changes that would limit registered dental hygienists in alternative practice (RDHAP) to care for the elderly.

The proposed changes by the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) would prevent these hygienists from independently practicing in more than 850 nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the state, according to the California Oral Health Coalition for the Aging & Developmentally Disabled (COHCADD). These hygienists provide essential oral health services in facilities that already struggle to maintain dental providers, the coalition noted.

"These proposed policy changes mandated by the Department of Health Care Services require transparency throughout stakeholder and provider engagement," stated COHCADD President Kirsten Roling, DDS, in a press release. "Public health policy analysis is needed to determine impact on the morbidity and mortality of our most vulnerable Californians."

The coalition is asking for people to sign a letter to the state's dental director, Jayanth Kumar, DDS, MPH, to investigate the proposed regulatory changes.

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