CDA has a dedicated team of professionals whose purpose is to advocate for the profession, including sponsoring legislation at the Capitol that addresses important issues related to dental benefits.
Following the October 2014 reclassification under federal law of hydrocodone combination products (HCPs) such as Vicodin and Norco from federal Schedule III to federal Schedule II, some dentists report pharmacies refusing to fill emergency prescriptions telephoned in for HCPs, under circumstances in which they may traditionally have been accepted. This article is intended to clarify the state of the law with regard to such HCPs and help dentists understand the requirements and limitations on oral prescriptions for a Schedule II drug.
On Jan. 1, California and the nation began the second year of implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Despite the fact that we are entering into year two, there is still much uncertainty regarding the overall and long-term impacts of the ACA on both the medical and dental care insurance and delivery systems.
Legislative proposals from the California Dental Hygienists’ Association (CDHA) that would significantly change the supervision and practice of hygienists’ were released at a December meeting of the Dental Hygiene Committee of California (DHCC), and they appear very similar to the changes proposed by CDHA earlier this year that CDA strongly opposed.
Dental students in California will soon officially be able to graduate with a “portfolio” model exam process over the course of their final year in dental school. In November, the Dental Board of California finalized the regulatory process of approval for the portfolio examination model and California’s dental schools can now begin the implementation process (it is not a requirement for the schools, however). This is the first licensure-by-portfolio-exam program in the nation.
The Dental Board of California has released its 2014 Sunset Review Report to the state legislative bodies responsible for analyzing and approving the document. Areas of particular interest to CDA during the Dental Board’s sunset review process are ensuring the addition of statutory language that exempts treatment of a spouse or domestic partner from the definition of sexual misconduct and alternative licensure options, including regional and national examinations.
Student delegates representing the six dental schools across California participated in the 2014 House of Delegates last month in San Diego. When the topic of Proposition 46 was brought up at the meeting, many of the student delegates in attendance took pride in the fact that they played a part in the No on Prop. 46 campaign.
California voters overwhelmingly defeated Proposition 46 in the November 4th general election, a ballot measure that would have dramatically increased health care costs and reduced patients' access to care by raising the payouts in lawsuits against dentists and other health care providers.
The statewide election is Tuesday, Nov. 4, and CDA needs your help in our final push to defeat Proposition 46. The ballot measure will make malpractice lawsuits against dentists and other health care providers more lucrative, significantly increasing liability insurance costs and threatening patients’ access to care. We have just one more week to go. Please turn in your vote-by-mail ballot or go to the polls next Tuesday and continue to help us inform voters about the dangers of Proposition 46.
As California approaches the second full year of implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), California’s Health Benefit Exchange Board, responsible for Covered California, the state’s online insurance marketplace and for the overall implementation of the ACA in California, has announced some changes to how dental benefits will be offered in 2015.
Dentists are reminded that starting Oct. 6, hydrocodone combination products such as Vicodin and Norco are classified as Schedule II drugs and require Schedule II authority to prescribe. CDA reminds dentists to visit the DEA’s website
to ensure their registration is up-to-date. Pharmacists will be checking the website for proper authority before filling Schedule II prescriptions. Dentists whose registration status is not updated should anticipate receiving pharmacists’ phone calls prior to filling prescriptions for Vicodin, Norco or similar products.
CDA President James Stephens, DDS, urges members to vote no on Proposition 46 in the November 4 general election. The primary goal of Proposition 46, sponsored by trial lawyers, is to make malpractice lawsuits against dentists and other health care providers more lucrative, which will significantly increase liability insurance costs, the volume of litigation and patients' health care costs.
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed CDA-sponsored legislation into law that will bring increased accountability and transparency to dental insurance plans in California. Assembly Bill 1962, authored by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), establishes standardized requirements for dental plans to disclose how they spend patient premium dollars and puts the state on a path to establish a minimum percentage of premium dollars that must be spent on patient care.
Beginning Oct. 6, hydrocodone combination products such as Vicodin and Norco will be rescheduled as Schedule II drugs instead of Schedule III. Dentists with a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration that does not include Schedule II authority will have to change it to continue prescribing/refilling certain pain-relieving medications for their patients.
The California Legislature has approved a CDA-sponsored bill establishing standardized requirements for dental plans to report the amount of patient premium dollars spent directly on dental care. AB 1962, authored by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), will bring dental plan reporting to the same level as currently exists for medical plans and puts the state on a path to establish a minimum percentage of premium dollars that must be spent on patient care.
Proposition 46 and the threat it poses to health care providers and the patients they serve was the topic of a timely lecture at CDA Presents in San Francisco. With the Nov. 4 election drawing closer, “MICRA: What Dentists Need to Know About the Threat to Malpractice Protection” outlined how Proposition 46 would raise the cap on noneconomic damages that would result in large payouts to trial lawyers, who are behind the ballot measure that also calls for physician drug testing and a statewide prescription database that jeopardizes patient privacy.
The DEA reschedule becomes effective Oct. 6, 2014. This change will impact how hydrocodone products are prescribed and dispensed in California because the requirements for prescribing and refilling C-II drugs are more restrictive than for C-III medications.
The campaign working to defeat Proposition 46 in November has ramped up its voter education activities by launching statewide television and radio ads to defeat the ballot initiative backed by trial lawyers. The No on 46 campaign is airing the ads in English and Spanish, highlighting the high cost of Proposition 46 — both in dollars and patient access to care — which would raise the cap on the state’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA).
In a new report from the ADA’s Health Policy Institute researchers found that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) expanded dependent coverage provision increased dental insurance coverage for young adults. The report, published in Medical Care, set out to "assess the effect of the Affordable Care Act’s dependent coverage policy on private dental benefits coverage, utilization and financial barriers to dental care."
While the Exchange has not yet released the number of pediatric dental benefit policies sold in its first open enrollment period, the agency continues to move forward with its plans for 2015. Medical plans as well as dental plans have submitted bids to the Exchange to participate and sell policies in 2015. Those bids are sealed, so we have little detailed information on them – including any dental plans that have asked to join the Exchange – but we know that the Exchange staff is actively negotiating with plans on the premium rates being offered by those hoping to sell products in the Exchange.
The ballot measure that would quadruple the cap on non-economic damages under the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) has been assigned a number, Proposition 46, for the upcoming November election, while the campaign against it is gaining more powerful allies. CDA and an expanding coalition of health care organizations and others are working to defeat Prop. 46 because it would have devastating effects on California’s health care system, increasing costs by billions of dollars annually.
As the November election approaches, CDA members will be hearing a lot more about a ballot measure designed to raise the cap on the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA). CDA and a coalition of health care organizations are working to defeat the initiative that would have devastating effects on California’s health care system. The initiative, called “The Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act,” is backed by trial lawyers attempting to persuade voters to quadruple MICRA’s cap on noneconomic damages to $1.1 million.
The establishment of a state dental director position — a goal CDA has actively pursued for years — is slated to become a reality after the state Legislature approved the 2014-15 state budget on June 15.
Interest remains high in the provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) health reform law, as indicated by the attendance at a CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry lecture in Anaheim on the ACA. CDA Legislative Affairs Manager Nicette Short presented “National Health Care Reform: How Will It Affect Your Practice?” — a course designed to provide information about the Affordable Care Act, its scope of coverage to individuals and small businesses and its potential impact on dentists, the oral health care delivery system and the dental benefits market.
California’s attorney general recently issued guidance on amendments to the California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA) that may have an impact on dental practices. CalOPPA now requires any operator of a commercial website or mobile application that collects the personally identifiable information (PII) of California residents to disclose how the website responds to “do not track” (DNT) browser signals.
CDA and a coalition of health care organizations are gearing up to defeat a November ballot initiative that would raise a malpractice cap on non-economic damages, resulting in devastating effects on California’s health care system.
Legislation that could have significantly limited the use of cone-beam radiographic equipment in dental offices failed to advance on April 28 at a hearing of the Senate Business and Professions Committee. Current state law prohibits health care providers from “self-referring” patients to themselves for diagnostic procedures such as laboratory tests and radiographs, but specifically exempts procedures ordered and performed in a provider’s own office. SB 1215, authored by Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), would have eliminated this in-office exemption for “advanced imaging.”
CDA-sponsored legislation to require dental plans to adhere to the same administrative cost limitations as medical plans took a major step forward April 8. AB 1962 passed the Assembly Health Committee on a 15-3 vote over strong opposition from the dental plan industry. AB 1962 would remove the dental plan exemption from state law that requires health plans to allocate a minimum of 80 percent of their premium revenue to actual patient care.
As of March 31, the first open enrollment period in health care reform implementation through the California Health Benefit Exchange’s individual market (Covered California) is in the books. So, it is now time to start thinking about what happens next for the people who have new dental policies and what treating these patient will mean for dentists. If and when a patient comes into your office with Covered California dental coverage, it is important to remember that what they really have is private dental insurance.
CDA and a coalition of health care organizations are ready to fight a ballot measure over California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA), which now appears inevitable after trial lawyers submitted more than 800,000 signatures to qualify their anti-MICRA initiative for the November ballot.
The establishment of a state dental director position to provide leadership and direction for oral health care in California, a goal CDA has actively pursued for more than two years, will soon become a reality.
A ballot measure fight over California's Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) now appears inevitable after Consumer Watchdog (a trial lawyer front group) submitted more than 800,000 signatures to county elections officials Monday to qualify their anti-MICRA initiative for the November ballot. Slightly more than 500,000 valid signatures are needed for the measure to qualify. The signatures will be verified over the next several weeks.
As the annual state budget process begins to unfold in the legislature, CDA is advocating on a variety of significant issues, ranging from funding a state dental director, improving Denti-Cal reimbursement rates and maintaining or restoring the state's public oral health program infrastructure. This year, CDA's top advocacy priority in the budget process is the establishment of a state dental director position within the Department of Public Health.
Even with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) barely under way, Covered California, the agency charged with implementing the ACA in this state, devoted considerable time last month to planning for expanded dental benefit offerings for 2015. CDA has continued to push for making a variety of plan options available to all consumers, including adults, and the state is now moving in that direction, with many details still to be worked out.
The Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975 protects dentists and other health care providers from frivolous lawsuits and outrageous malpractice rates that drove many practitioners out of the state. The law is now under attack by trial lawyers who are circulating petitions to force a November ballot initiative, in essence to allow bigger payouts to pad their pockets. CDA President James Stephens, DDS, outlines why dentists need to preserve MICRA and support the fight that CDA and other health care organizations are involved in this year.
The California Dental Association is sponsoring a patient protection bill introduced by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, (D-Berkeley), to ensure that a minimum percentage of consumer premiums are actually spent on their dental care instead of insurance company overhead and administration costs.
With a new legislative session under way, CDA’s volunteer leaders and its Sacramento advocacy team are simultaneously on offense and defense on a wide range of legislative and regulatory issues impacting dentists and patients across the state. The issues range from dental insurance and malpractice reforms to state oral health policy leadership and regulation of dental hygienists.
There is still much uncertainty regarding the overall and long-term impacts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on the health and dental care delivery systems. What we do know, however, is that the ACA will usher in access to dental care for many more children outside of the ACA-created online insurance marketplaces – including coverage through most private health insurance plans.
As of Jan. 1, 2014, many of the major reforms created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are in place. While the law is lengthy and has many complicated provisions, there are four basic concepts implemented by the law: providing private and public health insurance reforms and patient protections; allowing states to expand Medicaid coverage; requiring U.S. citizens to have health insurance coverage or pay a penalty; and creating marketplaces for health and pediatric dental insurance coverage.
In January, dentists receiving their biennial renewal statements from the Dental Board of California (DBC) will see an increase in the total fee from $365 to $377.
CDA and partners in the coalition, Californians Allied for Patient Protection (CAPP), are preparing for a year-long battle to defeat an effort by trial attorneys to change a provision of a law that protects dentists and other health care providers from frivolous lawsuits.
CDA is working with Covered California staff to identify additional training that needs to be provided to the enrollment specialists to help them better support families in accessing the dental benefits that are available to them. In addition, CDA is providing feedback to Covered California on the short-term, and perhaps longer-term, fixes that need to be made to the website to ensure that families who want to buy the dental coverage through the portal can do so efficiently.
Two new laws regarding data breach notification and information privacy go into effect with the New Year. The first, SB 46, expands the definition of “personal information” that triggers a data breach notification. The other, AB 370, requires disclosure of how a commercial website responds to “do not track” browser signals.
After a rocky first few days following its long-anticipated Oct. 1 opening for enrollment, Covered California, the state health insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has now reported some data on the number of consumers who have been able to access health insurance through the new marketplace. CDA remains actively engaged in all of the ACA’s implementation details and can be a resource to members interested in finding out more about the new law and how it may impact dentists and dentistry.
After months of intense preparation, Covered California, the health insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), began its open enrollment period on Oct. 1. Consumers can now begin the process of comparing and purchasing affordable medical and dental insurance coverage online, and Covered California is offering in-person and phone support for those who need it.
The 2013 legislative session came to a close without the introduction of legislation backed by trial attorneys to raise the MICRA cap on non-economic damages. CDA and partners in the coalition, Californians Allied for Patient Protection (CAPP), actively worked to communicate to legislators the importance of maintaining current provisions of the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, which ensures injured patients receive fair compensation, while stabilizing liability costs.
The ADA has announced the release of the first set of dental performance measures under the Dental Quality Alliance (DQA). The DQA, comprised of multiple stakeholders from across the oral health community, was created to establish a series of oral health care performance measures.
As the 2013 legislative session drew to a close, CDA’s three sponsored bills were in different stages of completion. One has already been signed by the governor, a second is awaiting his signature and a third is expected to be moved in 2014.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) amended the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, creating a requirement that employers provide a notice to all employees of the existence of the newly formed insurance marketplace available to them along with information on how to contact the insurance marketplace to request assistance in purchasing coverage if the employee chooses to do so.
CDA and partners in the coalition, Californians Allied for Patient Protection, are launching statewide efforts to fight an attempt by trial lawyers to make changes to the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA), which ensures injured patients receive fair compensation, while stabilizing liability costs. Trial lawyers have filed a ballot measure with the State Attorney General — the first step in a long and expensive process to qualify a measure for the ballot — which would change provisions of MICRA that protect dentists.
Many dental practices, because of their small size, may not be required to provide FMLA benefits to employees. However, risk management analysts at The Dentists Insurance Company advise dentists to address any request for a leave of absence with caution. There may be other laws that do apply to employee leave, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act or workers’ compensation.
With the legislature entering the final month of its 2013 session, CDA was an active participant in negotiations with the governor’s office, the legislature, and a variety of business, legal and consumer stakeholders in an attempt to improve the state’s Proposition 65 warning notice and litigation laws. Prop. 65 requires businesses with 10 or more employees to provide “clear and reasonable warning” if the product or business location may expose employees or consumers to a chemical known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.
California’s Health Benefit Exchange Board, which is tasked with implementing the federal Affordable Care Act in California, held a special meeting on Aug. 8 to focus primarily on issues surrounding the implementation of the pediatric dental Essential Health Benefit. The board upheld its decision to allow only stand-alone dental plans and ruled that it was too close to the date of open enrollment (Oct. 1, 2013) to allow traditional health plans to submit new bids including the pediatric dental benefit at this time. CDA strongly supported the Exchange’s decision to allow stand-alone dental plans.
The law protecting dentists, physicians and other health care providers from frivolous lawsuits is under attack again, and this time trial lawyers threaten to take the issue to voters next year if the Legislature does not make changes to the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) before the end of the summer legislative session. Legislation has not surfaced yet, but CDA and other partners in the coalition, Californians Allied for Patient Protection, are gearing up to fight efforts to change the law that ensures injured patients receive fair compensation, while stabilizing liability costs.
Covered California, the health and dental insurance online marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has announced the dental plans that will be available for purchase through the Exchange. Six plans were chosen: Anthem Dental; Blue Shield of California; Delta Dental of California; Health Net Dental; LIBERTY Dental Plan; and Premier Access Dental.
Three bills sponsored by CDA are moving through the Legislature. The bills focus on requiring dental plans operating in the California Health Benefit Exchange to abide, for the first time, by several consumer-focused provisions, supporting volunteer care by retired dentists, and increasing state oversight of mobile and portable dental practices.
The California Dental Association applauds the governor’s signature of a new state budget plan that includes the restoration of Adult Denti-Cal services.
The long-anticipated showdown over medical malpractice liability for medical providers may be fast approaching, with the announcement last month by a coalition of trial attorney and consumer advocates of a multi-pronged legislative and ballot initiative campaign, which could culminate in the November 2014 election.
Legislation aimed at making sure dental plans put more of their revenues into actual care for patients passed its first legislative hurdle. AB 18 (Pan), championed by CDA, successfully moved through the Assembly Health Committee, overcoming strong objections from dental plans and health plans.
Legislation aimed at making sure dental plans put more of their revenues into actual care for patients passed its first legislative hurdle. AB 18, authored by Assemblyman Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) and sponsored by CDA, overcame strong objections from dental plans and health plans.
The move to restore adult Denti-Cal benefits is one step closer to reality after the governor and state lawmakers agreed to include funding in a preliminary budget deal. The restoration of benefits, which still needs final budget approval, would begin in May 2014, with a proposed annual cost of $77 million.
CDA is sponsoring legislation to apply key patient protections and market reforms, including a minimum loss ratio on patient premiums, to dental plans participating in California’s new health plan marketplace, the Covered California health benefit exchange. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes many consumer-focused provisions that have already gone into effect, but that only apply to medical plans. Assemblymember Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), who chairs the Assembly Health Committee, has introduced AB 18, sponsored by CDA, that if passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor, would represent the first time these federal patient protections would be applied to dental plans participating in the small group market inside and outside the new health benefit exchange created by ACA.
Two bills sponsored by CDA this year, one dealing with incentives for retired dentists to provide free care and the other regulation of portable and mobile dental operations, passed the halfway mark in the legislative process last month by receiving unanimous votes in their first houses. After being approved by the appropriate policy and fiscal committees, AB 836 was passed by the full Assembly on April 25 by a 76-0 vote, while the Senate passed SB 562 on May 6 by a 32-0 vote.
If attendance is any indication at a CDA Presents lecture on national health care reform, dentists are eager to learn more about the issue and its impact on their practices as well as employee and personal health coverage. CDA Legislative Affairs Manager Nicette Short presented “National Health Care Reform: How Will It Affect Your Practice?” — a course designed to provide information about the Affordable Care Act and its potential impact on dentists, the oral health care delivery system and the dental benefits market — last month at CDA Presents in Anaheim.
Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra (D-Los Angeles) announced in late April that his legislation intended to permanently place into law various aspects of the state-sponsored Virtual Dental Home (VDH) pilot project will be held until next year to allow time for further clarification of its details.
All TDIC Insurance Solutions plans, including Anthem, Kaiser and others, will be impacted by the Affordable Care Act at levels that are yet to be determined. As we move into 2014, plans continue to cite ongoing increases in the cost of providing health care as reasons for recent actions to raise premiums – even before full implementation of ACA. Because of this, TDIC Insurance Solutions is diligently working with experts in the industry to both determine the possible effects and explore alternatives for its health care policyholders.
It has been three years since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), and full implementation of the federal health care reform law is now less than eight months away. From nearly the moment of its passage at the federal level, California has been leading other states in working toward its Jan. 1, 2014, implementation, despite the fact that federal regulations providing guidance to states on key implementation details have not all been finalized.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently issued final rules regarding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that included much needed clarification on federal policy related to access to dental care inside and outside of the Health Benefit Exchanges — the health and dental insurance marketplaces created by the ACA.
CDA is pushing for patients to have a flexible range of coverage options and the ability to choose their dentist, a model that reflects the way dental care historically has been provided.
While many key provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) do not take effect until 2014, one element is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, barring any last-minute change – a 2.3 percent excise tax on “medical devices” that include many dental products such as equipment and prostheses.
Earlier this year, Gov. Jerry Brown proposed and the Legislature approved the transition of all 875,000 of the children currently enrolled in the Healthy Families Program to the Medi-Cal program, which includes coverage for medical, vision, as well as their dental care. CDA has prepared this information for members about the transition.
Like many people, you may be relieved that the endless election season is over, and that TV commercial breaks are no longer filled with campaign rhetoric. Nevertheless, elections have consequences, and so I would like to provide a sense of how the results of the 2012 national and state campaigns will impact the legislative environment for CDA in 2013.
Legislation defining California’s Essential Health Benefits, which federal health care reform requires to include pediatric oral health benefits, has been signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. SB 951 by Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-Los Angeles) and AB 1453 by Assemblyman Bill Monning (D-Santa Cruz), chairs of the Senate and Assembly Health Committees respectively, define the health, vision and pediatric dental benefits that will be offered through California’s Health Benefit Exchange as part of its implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
CDA scored a significant victory in the dental benefits arena recently when Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that will place new disclosure requirements on dental plans and insurers when they make material changes to their contracts, rules and procedures. The legislation takes effect Jan. 1, 2013.
Top Stories: Dental plan disclosure bill signed into law; Dentists should be prepared when learning of an employee disability, Delta Dental meets with task force, discusses industry trends
The CDA Dental Benefits Task Force, which was approved at the 2011 CDA House of Delegates to develop a deeper understanding of the underlying pressures and trends in dental care financing, conducted several information gathering meetings this year. A summary of the task force’s work was presented to the 2012 House of Delegates on Nov. 10.
Top Stories: Health care reform in California: Activity on several fronts; CDA Cares spotlights need for state oral health infrastructure; Compass helps dentists become practice leaders
Top Stories: CDA Cares clinic delivers $1.2 million in care; Symposium at CDA Presents stresses preventing childhood caries; CDA-sponsored bills moving in Legislature
Top Stories: CDA bills tackle dental plan concerns; CDA Cares treatment plan: Relieve pain and infection; TDIC announces rate reduction for CA policyholders
Top Stories: Nonprofits collaborate on workforce; Students learn how Legislature affects dentistry; Affordable Care Act - one year later
Top Stories: Ban on fee caps among laws now in effect; Dental society, health center join forces to open clinic; CDA honored for ‘vision’ in promoting oral health
Top Stories: CDA presentation sheds light on effect of health care reform; Top-notch courses, trade show attract 26,000 to CDA Presents; CDA urges member participation in access solutions
Top Stories: Health care reform: What does it mean for dentists?; CDA Presents refines Anaheim experience; Sample associate agreement highlights overlooked details
Top Stories: Grants put dentists in communities; Insurance, state budget top legislative priorities; A productive new year begins with CDA Compass