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CA Bills Tackle Dental Funding, Hospital 'Safe Zones'

By Doug Desjardins  
   December 19, 2016

State lawmakers introduced new bills that would increase physician reimbursements for the Denti-Cal program and prohibit law enforcement from enforcing immigration laws in hospitals.

This story originally appeared in California Healthfax.

California lawmakers introduced new bills that would increase funding for the state's Medicaid dental program and make hospitals a 'safe zone' for undocumented immigrants.

Assembly Bill 15, introduced by assembly member Brian Maienschein (R-San Diego), would increase reimbursement rates for dentists participating in Denti-Cal, the state’s dental plan for Medi-Cal patients.

In a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown, two assembly members supporting the bill asked the governor to fund Denti-Cal with revenue from Proposition 56, a $2-per-pack tax on cigarettes approved by voters in November that is expected to generate more than $1 billion in annual revenue.

"Provider reimbursement rates for the top 10 children’s dental services paid in California are only 35% of the national average," the letter stated, and low reimbursement rates are part of the reason no dentists in 11 counties are accepting new child patients covered by Denti-Cal.

New Funding Seeks to Help Clinics Swamped by Demand For Dental Care

A report on the Denti-Cal program released in April by the state's nonpartisan Little Hoover Commission described reimbursement rates for providers as "dreadful" and urged state and federal officials to work together to find new sources of funding for the program.

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