Two significant but conflicting developments in the longstanding effort to rebuild the oral health care safety net in California have occurred. In a disappointing move, on the same day that the state Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee endorsed restoring Medi-Cal adult dental benefits, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on May 24 denied a petition filed by CDA and a coalition of health care organizations aiming to stop the state from implementing a 10 percent reduction in Medi-Cal provider reimbursement rates.
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.
Due to an increased number of questions from members through the CDA Practice Support Center, CDA is launching a lunchtime “Feed Your Mind” employment webinar series this summer. CDA is offering its members an opportunity to learn more about the different leaves and gain an understanding of how to manage those leaves within the legal arena.
As the CDA Foundation plans for the CDA Cares free dental clinic in San Diego in December, many members are doing everything they can to help make sure the clinics are a success, even if they can’t physically be there to volunteer. Through the Foundation’s “sponsor a dental chair” program, dentists can donate $500 toward providing patients a place to receive essential care at the clinics. Each donation goes a long way in helping change lives.
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.
Preliminary numbers indicate 2,202 patients received free oral health care at the CDA Cares San Jose dental clinic over the weekend. Hosted by the CDA Foundation and CDA, the May 18-19 dental clinic provided more than $1.6 million in oral health care services to the underserved. The San Jose clinic, which was held at the San Jose Convention Center, was the third CDA Cares event. The three clinics combined have now provided $4.4 million in care to 5,878 patients.
CDA has launched digital versions of Update and the Journal as a way to communicate industry and member news across more platforms. The “ePubs,” which are available for download on the iTunes Store, Google Play and Amazon App Store, will be accessible every month as a supplement to the print versions of both publications.
A CDA Cares free dental clinic is scheduled for Dec. 7-8 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in San Diego County. To help provide oral health care services to the large number of expected patients, the CDA Foundation needs volunteer dentists, dental and health professionals, lab technicians, nurses and pharmacists.
CDA staff will post photos and videos from the clinic being held at the San Jose Convention Center this weekend as they are collected onto the Social Hub. The site also features CDA’s live Twitter feed. To follow all social activity on Twitter and Instagram at CDA Cares use the hashtag #cdacares.
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.
In a positive sign for the millions of Californians in need of access to care, the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services on May 2 discussed the issue of restoring Medi-Cal adult dental benefits. Although no final recommendation was made by the subcommittee, the hearing raised the profile of this issue that has been led by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), who has been a vocal champion for bringing back adult dental services since his visit to the CDA Cares free dental clinic held in Sacramento last year.
New dentists who have sent out their resumes and cover letters to practices in search of employment should be prepared for the possibility of a working interview. Working interviews in dentistry are common because they allow candidates to practice in the clinical setting and provide the opportunity to observe how the practice owner conducts the office. It’s also the best way for practice owners to observe new dentists’ techniques and see how they interact with patients and staff.
As part of an effort to simplify providers’ participation in the state’s Medi-Cal Dental Benefits Program (Denti-Cal), CDA, with the cooperation of the State Department of Health Care Services’ Dental Services Department, has developed a guide to working within the program. The guide, entitled “Denti-Cal Provider Guide,” is divided into two main sections: Processing a Denti-Cal Patient Through the Dental Practice; and the Denti-Cal Billing Process.
It is becoming increasingly more important for dentists to keep track of dental insurance. Michael Perry, DDS, founder and president of Momentum Dental Business Consulting, led a course at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in Anaheim last month that gave dentists an idea of how they can choose the appropriate insurance model for their dental practice rather than “letting the model choose them.”
In the online world, a website establishes and represents your practice. Just like your brick-and-mortar office, a website needs to be efficient, clean and current. In attracting new patients to your practice via your website, you may want to include testimonials and photos of your patients, and The Dentists Insurance Company reminds dentists to secure patient permission in writing first. TDIC’s website at thedentists.com
offers image consent forms.
CDA Presents the Art and Science of Dentistry in Anaheim attracted more than 28,000 attendees in April and CDA is gearing up for the next show in San Francisco later this year. CDA Update staff spoke with Del Brunner, DDS, chair of the CDA Presents Board of Managers about the highlights of the Anaheim show and what attendees can expect at CDA Presents San Francisco, which will be held Aug. 15-17 at the Moscone Center.
In exchange for a commitment by recipients to care for the underserved, the CDA Foundation awards selected recent dental school/specialty graduates with the Student Loan Repayment Grant to help repay their educational loan of up to $35,000 per year for a maximum of $105,000 over three years. The deadline for 2013 CDA Foundation Student Loan Repayment Grant applications is July 31.
Ann Milar, CDA dental benefits analyst, weighs in on why all dental offices must make sure they have the correct address on file with their contracted plans. This will ensure that the offices receive necessary credentialing paperwork, tax documents and other written communication from plans in a timely manner and avoid the potential of being unknowingly terminated as a participating provider.