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Bills of Interest April 2015
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April 20, 2015

AB 179 (ASB B&P) Dental Board of California: Sunset Review
Existing law provides for the Dental Board of California within the Department of Consumer Affairs. These provisions are in effect only until January 1, 2016.This bill would extend those provisions until January 1, 2020.
Comment: This is the Dental Board of California’s Sunset bill. Unless passed, it would result in the dissolution of the Dental Board on January 1, 2016.

AB 366 (Bonta) Medi-Cal Provider Rates
This bill would immediately repeal implementation of prior year Medi-Cal rate reductions, and establish future reimbursement rates comparable to that of federal Medicare payment in both fee-for-service and managed care programs. Rates for Denti-Cal providers would be increased by an equivalent amount.
Comment: The bill is largely symbolic and attempts to express the “will of the legislature” regarding Medi-Cal funding. Any change in actual reimbursement rates will come through budget negotiations with the Governor’s office and will require a “champion” in either the Senate or Assembly. The Senate companion bill is SB 243 (Hernandez).

AB 502 (Chau) Dental Hygiene Practice
As amended, the bill proposes allowing a RDHAP in a designated Dental Health Professions Shortage Area (DHPSA) to continue independent practice regardless of later DHPSA decertification, and requires that hygiene services covered under a commercial dental benefit plan be paid at the same reimbursement paid to the dentist when the services are provided directly by an RDAHP not employed by or acting as an independent contractor to a licensed dentist.
Comment: Before the bill is heard by the Assembly Health Committee, the author has agreed to develop stricter criteria around how RDHAPs could continue to practice in a decertified DHPSA and still ensure the intended purpose of expanding access to oral hygiene services for underserved populations

AB 648 (Low) Virtual Dental Home Implementation Project
Dental Hygiene Committee of California: Sunset review- The bill would establish a grant program using public and private funds to pilot the virtual dental home model of community-based delivery of dental care to underserved populations in community clinics and school programs. The new Office of Oral Health would develop the program under the direction of the new state dental director.
Comment: The bill calls for an appropriation of 4 million dollars from the general fund, an amount likely to be significantly reduced as the bill reaches appropriation committees. Funds would be used for start-up elements like training, equipment and technical support.

AB 880 (Ridley-Thomas) Free-Clinic Practice by Final Year Dental Students
The bill would permit the practice of dentistry by a final year student, without compensation or expectation of compensation, under the supervision of a licensed dentist in a free clinic or health fair setting.19
Comment: The practice of dentistry by a dental student in a community or free clinic is currently allowed only if the facility is accredited as a teaching site by a California Dental School and care is supervised by the teaching faculty of that institution.
SB 203 (Monning) Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: Safety Warnings  This bill would require a warning label on most sugar-sweetened beverages sold or dispensed in the state reading “Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”
 Comment:  The bill mirrors SB 1000, introduced by Senator Monning last year, which failed passage by the Assembly Health Committee after passage by the Senate.
SB 243 (Hernandez) Medi-Cal Provider Rates The bill is intended to immediately reverse previous Medi-Cal reimbursement rate reductions and establish future reimbursement rates comparable to Medicare.
 Comment:  This is the Senate companion bill to AB 366 (Bonta).
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