Today's Law As Amended

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AB-15 Denti-Cal program: reimbursement rates.(2017-2018)

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) California’s Medicaid dental program, Denti-Cal, is charged with providing an adequate level of dental coverage to 13 million low-income Californians, including five million children.
(b) Dental care, particularly preventative care, can have significant long-term impacts. Tooth decay and disease are associated with pregnancy risks, diabetes, and respiratory and heart disease. Additionally, a lack of access to dental care among children can result in missed school days, and ultimately poorer academic performance.
(c) Denti-Cal, as currently implemented and funded, is a failure. Just 37.8 percent of California’s five million Denti-Cal-eligible children saw a dentist in the 2014 calendar year.
(d) The Milton Marks “Little Hoover” Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy and the California State Auditor both note these low utilization rates, which stem from a lack of providers and an uneven distribution of those providers that do participate in the Denti-Cal program. Five counties have no providers, and 14 counties only have providers that are not accepting new patients.
(e) The lack of providers is partly a result of low reimbursement rates, which are typically one-third to one-half of the national average for common procedures.

SEC. 2.

 Section 14149.9 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, immediately following Section 14149.8, to read:

 (a) It is the intent of the Legislature to attract and retain more Denti-Cal providers, with an emphasis on underserved areas, and to increase utilization of the program.
(b) For the 2017–18 fiscal year, the State Department of Health Care Services shall double Denti-Cal provider reimbursement rates for the 15 most common prevention, treatment, and oral evaluation services based on the average rates per service established in the 2015–16 fiscal year.
(c) The Legislature shall appropriate for the 2017–18 fiscal year such an amount as may be necessary to implement subdivision (b) from the Healthcare Treatment Fund to the State Department of Health Care Services in accordance with subdivision (a) of Section 30130.55 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, in combination with the maximum federal financial participation that can be obtained.