"This waiver gives the state new flexibility to work on innovative dental programs and scrap those that are underperforming," noted Ken Wallis, DDS, CDA president, in a statement. "We know the state's current 20-year dental managed care pilot programs in Sacramento and Los Angeles have not served children well -- it's time for the state to develop and test new dental programs that provide better access to care."
Millions of children and adults have recently been included in the state's Medi-Cal system, so meaningful reforms of the Denti-Cal program are necessary to ensure access to timely care and an adequate network of providers, the association stated. California recently reversed a 10% rate cut for dental providers, but the state still has one of the nation's lowest Medicaid provider reimbursement rates, which are 35% of the national average. A critical state audit in 2014 found that 56% of children enrolled in the Denti-Cal program are not able to access any dental care because they could not find dental providers.
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