Dentists enrolled as Medi-Cal Dental providers may not be aware of all the services available to their patients, as well as to the dental team to help them establish patients and provide care free of charge.
Dentists who are not yet enrolled as providers may wish to review these services to learn how far the Medi-Cal Dental Program has come in the last few years. CDA has been at the center of the push to improve the program and is pleased with the historic improvements made over the past decade, including increased reimbursement rates, restoration and expansion of patient benefits and simplified provider enrollment.
Continue reading to learn about new and important ongoing services for Medi-Cal Dental patients and providers.
A lack of transportation can mean missed health care appointments for patients. Since 2018, transportation to and from medical and dental appointments has been provided for free to all Medi-Cal patients. Here are the two main types of transportation services that are available:
Providers and patients should coordinate transportation services as soon as possible before an appointment. The Department of Health Care Services provides more information on transportation services.
Interpreter services are available to all Medi-Cal patients at no charge. Dentists can download and display in their office or give Medi-Cal patients a copy of the “interpretation services available” flyer to inform them about these services. The one-pager is written in multiple languages and lets Medi-Cal patients know they should indicate if they need interpreter services.
The Department of Health Care Services offers:
Patients and dental office staff can request any of these language assistance services. To avoid delays and allow time to obtain language interpreter services during an appointment, providers are encouraged to identify if a Medi-Cal patient needs language assistance when scheduling an appointment. Dentists can request the service for Medi-Cal patients through the provider service center at 800.423.0507, and patients can call 800.322.6384 to request service.
Patients in dental managed care programs (all Medi-Cal enrollees residing in Sacramento and San Mateo counties and some in Los Angeles County) should be directed to their dental plan’s member service department to access the transportation and language assistance benefits described above.
The Medi-Cal Dental Program offers in-person seminars and a wide array of virtual webinars for dentists and staff. Seminars are available year-round and cover the most current Medi-Cal Dental Program criteria, policies and procedures. Topics covered in seminars and workshops include Medi-Cal billing for staff, procedures codes and requirements, and more.
C.E. credits are available at most in-person and virtual webinars available through the Medi-Cal Dental Program. More information, including a current schedule of seminars, is available on the provider training webpage.
Effective May 1, 2023, teledentistry increases access to care by reducing barriers and meeting patients where they are. As a result of recent policy changes, Medi-Cal providers will have the flexibility to establish new patients through synchronous and asynchronous telehealth modalities consistent with federally qualified health centers and rural health clinic providers.
Also known as store-and-forward, asynchronous telehealth allows a trained dental hygienist or assistant to collect or store diagnostic information about the patient and forward the data to a collaborating dentist so that a diagnosis and treatment plan can be made and completed by the hygienist. This method of care can also result in a coordinated referral if the treatment plan requires an in-person visit with a dentist. These policy expansions build upon the success of the virtual dental home model.
More information about the teledentistry expansion is available through the Medical Dental Manual of Criteria and the Medi-Cal Dental Provider Bulletin.
California dentists can visit the DHCS’ Medi-Cal Dental provider page to learn more about the program’s services for providers, apply to become a provider, sign up to receive the Provider Bulletin and more.
Also see the article CDA published last fall detailing Medi-Cal Dental gains related to benefits, treatment options and case-management assistance.