Dental crisis looms for Calif. Medi-Cal kids

By DrBicuspid Staff

January 17, 2013 -- The Children's Partnership (TCP) has released an issue brief and action plan addressing the challenges Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program, faces in providing dental care to children in the state.

The issue brief also stresses the impact that newly enrolled children will have on the state's strained dental care system.

With the transition of children in the Healthy Families Program over to Medi-Cal, coupled with the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more than 1 million additional children in California will be enrolled in Medi-Cal's dental program by 2014, according to TCP.

This is an almost 25% increase in the number of children currently covered by Medi-Cal's dental program and will mean that approximately 5 million children -- roughly half of all children in California -- will receive their dental care through Medi-Cal.

Currently, children enrolled in Medi-Cal are not getting the dental care they need. In 2011, almost half of children younger than age 21 enrolled in Medi-Cal's dental program did not receive a dental checkup or treatment. This is largely due to the fact that, while California has a large number of dentists, the state has relatively few who accept Medi-Cal.

According to the most recent data available, just over a third of California dentists accepted any Medi-Cal patients at all. Given the existing problems with dental access in Medi-Cal, California urgently needs to ask whether Medi-Cal is ready to treat the 1 million additional children who will gain dental coverage during the next year.

"California's Medi-Cal dental system is already struggling to serve children and is unprepared for what's to come," stated Wendy Lazarus, founder and co-president of TCP, in a press release.

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Copyright © 2013

Last Updated np 1/17/2013 3:05:35 PM

2 comments so far ...
1/21/2013 12:14:01 PM
This represents yet one more unfunded government mandate. The Medicaid system is already rife w/ fraud, waste & abuses. The entire Medicaid dental system needs to be scrapped. Oversite is a pathetic joke. Enforcement is hit-or-miss (mostly miss). Entire corporate business models are based on Medicaid fraud involving gross over-treatment of disadvantaged children. All the while, small business dentists distance themselves from this corrupt system.  In fact, many of us are providing donated services, rather than associate w/ this toxic Medicaid system.
Tough love means walking away from failed government programs, & attempting something different. It's in the children's interest, we redesign programs which actually work.
Michael W Davis, DDS
Santa Fe, NM

2/11/2013 6:46:21 PM
Buckeye DDS
In Ohio less than 16% of dentists are "Active Medicaid Providers".  The definition of Active is that they see 50 or more Medicaid patients per year.  At least 235,000 more patients will be added to Ohio's Medicaid's program under the optional Obama Care program.  The number of active Medicaid providers is dwindling in my state.  The last fee adjustment was 01-01-2000 with no forseeable increase.  Name one item that is used in a dental practice that has not gone up in the last 14 years!  The young dental grads with $200K plus of student loans can not possibly treat these patients at current fee levels.  While ObamaCare gets most of America on some kind of medical plan, I do not see providers rushing to line up to treat these patients at the pathetic fee levels that Medicaid pays.