CDA urges end to Sacramento County dental program

The California Dental Association (CDA) is urging state officials to end Sacramento County's managed care dental program, saying that the program has failed to meet the needs of the county's most vulnerable children, leaving many without access to dental care.

The association contends that a report on Sacramento County's geographic managed care (GMC) dental program shows that the pilot program, the only program of its kind in California, is a failure.

The report, "Sacramento Children and Dental Care: Better Served than 5 Years Ago?" shows that 67% of Sacramento Medical-eligible children did not receive a preventive service in 2014, according to the CDA. The report also notes that overall utilization rates in Sacramento are 39.6%, lagging far behind the state's fee-for-service average of 52.5%.

However, a reading of the report by also finds some positives, including that the use of dental services for children in the geographic managed care program has increased for all child-age populations since 2008 by nearly 100% -- from 20.2% to 39.6%. For children from birth to 3 years, the proportion rose by nearly 250%, according to the report.

The report also noted that those dentists who participated in GMC have a more positive view of the program than dentists who do not participate. Both sets of dentists, however, "believe reimbursement rates paid to dentists must increase to retain current dentists and to recruit additional providers."

Pilot programs should be short-term, noted Ken Wallis, DDS, president of the CDA.

"Pilot programs are meant to be short-term opportunities to show if there's a better way to accomplish something -- after 20 unsuccessful years, we're convinced that this pilot has run its course," stated Dr. Wallis in a press release. "The state is paying more money for worse results and the program has fallen well short of the performance benchmarks set by the Legislature."

Latest in Federally Qualified Health Center
Page 1 of 19
Next Page