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BILLS OF INTEREST FALL 2016
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CSPD follows a number of bills under consideration by the state legislature which potentially impact pediatric oral health. Members having questions or wishing to comment on these or any other legislative matters are invited to contact CSPD’s Public Policy Advocate, Dr. Paul Reggiardo, at reggiardo@prodigy.net.

AB 648 (Low)
Virtual Dental Home Implementation Project.
This bill would have appropriated $4 million from the general fund to establish a grant program under the California Department of Public Health to facilitate, coordinate, and encourage development and expansion of the delivery of dental health services through use of the VDH model.

CSPD Position: Support

Outcome: Died in Senate Appropriations Committee.

Comment: Securing a funding source has always been the stumbling block to passage. Last year the bill was amended to shift that source from the General Fund to the California Health Facilities Financing Authority. Amendments made this year tried, unsuccessfully, to revert underwriting back to the General Fund.

AB 1051 (Maienschein)
Denti-Cal Funding.
The bill would have required the Department of Health Care Services to increase provider reimbursement rates for the 15 most common dental services provided in the Denti-Cal program to that paid in the commercial market.

CSPD Position: Support

Outcome: Died in Senate Appropriations Committee.

Comment: The bill originally called for a one-time appropriation of $200 million from the general fund. Analysis by the Senate Appropriations Committee put the increased costs to the program, instead, at $525-$625 million the first year, with additional hundreds of millions of dollars of ongoing costs in the years ahead.

AB 2207 (Wood) 
Medi-Cal Dental Program.
This bill mandates a simplified Denti-Cal provider enrollment process, improves the accuracy and usefulness of the Denti-Cal Provider Directory, adds additional oversight reporting by the Department of Health Care Services, and, most significantly, requires a Medi-Cal Managed Health Care Plan to provide dental screenings and appropriate referral of Medi-Cal beneficiaries to Medi-Cal dental providers.

CSPD Position: Support

Outcome: Approved by the Governor and signed into law.

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 requirements. The bill was developed in conjunction with, and had 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 requires the Dental Board of California (DBC) 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. It expands the definition of unprofessional conduct to include failure to notify the DBC about an adverse event relating to dental sedation; encourages the DBC to support a third party public database of adverse events; establishes consent language for the administration of general anesthesia for a minor dental patient; requires the DBC to approve a form for the reporting of adverse event information; and authorizes a penalty for failure to report information to the DBC.

CSPD Position: Support

Outcome: Approved by the Governor and signed into law.

Comment: The bill’s major provision closely mirrors the ongoing work by the Dental Board to investigate all available information related to pediatric dental anesthesia in California over the past five years, as well as examining other state laws and regulations, and the guidelines and recommendations of professional organizations, to determine if the state is doing everything possible to ensure the highest level patient safety.

AB 2495 (Santiago)
Dental Corps Loan Repayment Program.
The bill streamlines the California Dental Corps Loan Repayment Program (CDCLRP), under the jurisdiction of the Dental Board of California, expands eligibility of applicants to the program, and reschedules the timeline that loan repayments may be disbursed.

CSPD Position: Support

Outcome: Approved by the Governor and signed into law.

Comment: The Legislature passed the CDCLRP 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 undistributed, Major changes to the existing program allow individuals to apply while still in school, make qualification criteria more flexible, and modify the repayment schedule.

SB 1098 (Cannella)
Medi-Cal Dental Services Utilization Rate Report. The bill requires the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) by October 1, 2017, to report to the Legislature on progress towards the goal of raising the Denti-Cal utilization  rate among eligible child beneficiaries to 60% or greater and identify a date by which the DHCS projects this utilization goal will be met.

CSPD Position: Watch

Outcome: Approved by the Governor and signed into law.

Comment: The bill came out of one of the recommendations of the Little Hoover Commission. At one time the bill would have created an advisory panel to the DHCS including “a representative of the California Society of Pediatric Dentistry.”

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