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Bills of Interest July 2016
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AB 648 (Low)
Virtual Dental Home Implementation Project.
This bill would establish the Virtual Dental Home (VDH) Grant Program to facilitate, coordinate, and encourage development and expansion of the delivery of dental health services through use of the VDH model.

CSPD Position: Support

Comment: Efforts to find funding for the bill raised administrative complexities that could not be resolved prior to the first session legislative deadline. It is now likely that funding will be needed from the General Fund or from the Denti-Cal Medicaid Waiver in the form of a Dental Transformation Initiative pilot project.

AB 1051 (Maienschein)
Denti-Cal Funding.
The bill would appropriate an additional $200 million to the Denti-Cal program to attract and maintain more providers primarily by increasing reimbursement rates.

CSPD Position: Support

Comment: The funds would initially be used to increase reimbursement rates for the 15 most common services (in an amount or percentage yet to be determined). Amounts remaining would first be used to increase funding for preventive care and case management to achieve long-term cost savings, increase provider participation, and increase beneficiary utilization and then to increase reimbursement for other or remaining services.

AB 2207 (Wood) 
Medi-Cal Dental Program.
This bill would, among other provisions, simplify the Denti-Cal provider enrollment process, improve the accuracy and usefulness of the Denti-Cal Provider Directory, add additional oversight reporting responsibilities by the Department of Health Care Services, and require a Medi-Cal Managed Health Care Plan (MHCP) to provide dental screenings and appropriate referral of Medi-Cal beneficiaries to Medi-Cal dental providers.

CSPD Position: Support

Comment: The bill requires the DHCS to monitor access and utilization of Denti-Cal services to assess opportunities to improve access and utilization and expands and aligns Denti-Cal fee-for-service and Denti-Cal managed care annual and quarterly reporting requirement. The bill was developed in conjunction with, and has the support of, the Department of Health Care Services, partly in response to the April 2015 Little Hoover Commission report.

AB 2235 (Thurmond) 
Pediatric Anesthesia.
This bill would require the Dental Board of California to provide to the legislature by January 1, 2017, a report on whether current statutes and regulations for the administration and monitoring of pediatric anesthesia in dentistry provide adequate protection for pediatric dental patients.

CSPD Position: Support

Comment: Incident reporting provisions and informed consent wording (that “administration and monitoring of general anesthesia may vary depending on the type of procedure, the type of practitioner, the age and health of the patient and the setting in which anesthesia is provided. Risks may vary with each specific situation. You are encouraged to explore all the options available for your child’s anesthesia for his or her dental treatment, and consult with your dentist or pediatrician as needed) remain intact.

AB 2495 (Santiago)
Dental Corps Loan Repayment Program.
The bill would streamline the California Dental Corps Loan Repayment Program (DCLRP), under the jurisdiction of the Dental Board of California, expand eligibility of applicants to the program, and reschedule the timeline that loan repayments may be disbursed.

CSPD Position: Support

Comment: The Legislature passed the DCLRP in 2002, allocating $3 million from the State Dentistry Fund (derived from licensing and other fees) to be disbursed as educational loan repayment for dentists practicing in underserved areas. Fourteen years later, a little more than half of these funds are still sitting in the grant fund, yet to be awarded. This bill is intended to kick-start disbursement of the remaining funds and remove some existing impediments to the program.

SB 1098 (Cannella)
Denti-Cal Advisory Group.
The bill would establish a 10-member advisory panel under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health Care Services to study the policies and priorities of the Denti-Cal program and to assist and advise the DHCS, the Legislature and the Governor on the Denti-Cal program with the goal of increasing the annual utilization rate of beneficiaries to 60% or greater

CSPD Position: Watch

Comment: The bill came out of one of the recommendations of the Little Hoover Commission to create an evidence-based advisory group for the Denti-Cal program. As constructed, it misses the mark of the “subject matter expert panel” envisioned by testimony during the hearings. The State Dental Director would be a member of the group and seven members would be appointed by the Governor, including “a representative of the California Society of Pediatric Dentistry.” The Department of Health Care Services opposes the bill as duplicative of existing advisory and stakeholder groups, including the Medi-Cal Children’s Health Advisory Panel, and ongoing Department initiatives to achieve the same ends.

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