CDA has a dedicated team of professionals whose sole purpose is to advocate for the profession and for patients, working to sponsor new laws improving dentists’ and patients’ rights.

Prepare to apply for CalHealthCares student loan repayment or practice support grant
Eligible dentists and dental students in California can apply Jan. 13 to Feb. 7, 2020, for student loan repayment of up to $300,000 or a practice support grant — also up to $300,000 — through the CalHealthCares program. To improve their chances of scoring highly, applicants are encouraged to prepare early by reviewing all materials, including eligibility requirements and Q&A, and attending an upcoming live webinar or watching a recorded webinar.
Not your father's Medi-Cal
Improvements to the Medi-Cal Dental program continue with new options for dentists who treat Medi-Cal members, including the ability to provide fluoride treatment and fluoride varnish as a benefit once every four months for patients under age 6. The increase in the benefit periodicity underscores the state’s commitment to regular preventive oral health visits for young children in California.
Victory for direct-to-consumer orthodontic patient protection bill
Direct-to-consumer orthodontic patients will gain new protections when CDA-supported Assembly Bill 1519 becomes the law in January 2020. The first of its kind in the nation, the new law will protect patients from DTC orthodontic companies that are putting profits before patients by taking potentially unsafe shortcuts to the accepted standards of care.
$300K opportunity for dentists who relocate, commit to Medi-Cal
California dentists who are willing to relocate, expand or establish a new practice to an area of highest patient need and commit to serving Medi-Cal beneficiaries for at least 10 years can apply in January 2020 to receive up to $300,000 in grant funding through the state’s CalHealthCares program to support related costs.
Direct-to-consumer orthodontic patient protection bill awaits governor's signature
A bill that protects patients who undergo direct-to-consumer orthodontic treatment has passed the California Legislature and is awaiting the governor’s signature.
CDA Cares draws support from new presenting sponsor
The CDA Foundation is gearing up for its 16th CDA Cares volunteer dental event with new and continued support from community members and key sponsors. The clinic will take place Sept. 27-28 at the National Orange Show Events Center in San Bernardino, Calif. About 1,950 people are expected to receive oral health care services at no cost, thanks to the support of generous sponsors including Delta Dental, Western Dental, Henry Schein, Planmeca, GES, The Dentists Insurance Company and The Dentists Supply Company.
ADA files complaint with Federal Trade Commission against SmileDirectClub
The American Dental Association has asked the Federal Trade Commission to “investigate false and misleading claims made by SmileDirectClub, LLC to entice consumers to purchase products and services.” The ADA is concerned specifically with SmileDirectClub’s marketing and direct-to-consumer sales of plastic teeth aligners, which it says do not follow the adequate safeguards required by law.
'Life-changing' grants awarded to 38 dentists committed to Medi-Cal
Marc Bernardo, DMD, MPH, and Michelle Galeon, DMD, are among the first recipients of a new grant funded by Proposition 56, a voter-approved tobacco tax that CDA and other health care organizations sponsored in 2016. The grant program awarded $10 million in debt relief to 38 dentists (up to $300,000 each) in exchange for the dentists maintaining a 30% or more Medi-Cal patient caseload for five years.
Support consumer protections for direct-to-consumer orthodontia — contact your legislator
With the emergence of new business models offering various dental services that can be ordered without an in-person clinical examination, such as direct-to-consumer orthodontia, it is imperative that dental treatment, no matter how it is accessed, continues to meet the standard of care. Assembly Bill 1519 will ensure that telehealth advancements continue to grow in a thoughtful way that puts patient safety first and is as effective as in-person treatment.
New state program awards $10.5M in grants to dentists
The Department of Health Care Service’s new program designed to expand access to care for Medi-Cal patients has awarded $10.5 million to 40 dentists to pay student loan debt. Approximately 1,300 health care providers, including 350 dentists, applied to the CalHealthCares program, which offers up to $300,000 in debt relief in exchange for meeting certain criteria.
Participate in study to evaluate the Dental Transformation Initiative
To understand how well the Dental Transformation Initiative program is meeting its goals, the Department of Health Care Services has contracted with Mathematica, an external, independent research organization, to evaluate DTI as outlined in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Special Terms and Conditions.
Budget deal makes multiyear commitment to increased provider rates
As part of the finalized 2019-20 California state budget, the Legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom approved a continuation of supplemental Medi-Cal provider rates, including significant dollars for dentists serving Medi-Cal patients. An additional $20 million was dedicated to dentists through a recently launched student loan repayment program.
CDA advocates to preserve in-office patient financing through legislation
CDA is in negotiations on Senate Bill 639, which was drafted to provide consumer protections on financial products purchased by patients and used to finance various types of health care-related procedures and products, including dental procedures. To ensure financing products remain available for patients and providers, CDA has taken an “oppose unless amended” position to request amendments that will continue to allow these products to be marketed in dental offices without interrupting the practice of dentistry or the dentist-patient relationship.
Dental board’s sunset review bill includes clarifications on licensure
The Dental Board of California is undergoing its sunset review in the state Legislature. In Assembly Bill 1519, authored by the Assembly Business and Professions Committee, the dental board provides a status update to the Legislature and identifies opportunities for improvement. CDA has particular interest in three areas of the dental board’s sunset review bill, including clarifying how an applicant can obtain a new license after their initial license has expired.
Students advocate for dentistry, oral health at the state Capitol
Grassroots Advocacy Days are in full swing as student representatives from California’s six dental schools met with their local legislators and legislative staff to discuss critical issues affecting dentistry. CDA coordinates these small-group advocacy days each year at the state Capitol in Sacramento. The goal is to help members learn about the legislative process and to allow participants to have in-depth, interactive discussions with lawmakers about dentistry and oral health.
Deadline to cash Delta Dental settlement checks approaching
Delta Premier Providers who are class members of the Delta Dental class action lawsuit have until June 14, 2019, to cash their settlement checks. The $65 million settlement is the result of legal action CDA filed against Delta on behalf of members. Most settlement checks sent to approximately 14,000 class members have been cashed, but the class action settlement administrator reports that more than 500 settlement checks have yet to be cashed.
Network leasing bill gains traction, adds protection for dentists, patients
AB 954, authored by Assemblymember Jim Wood, DDS, and sponsored by CDA, unanimously passed the Assembly Health Committee April 3 with favorable amendments to further protect dentists and patients when dental provider agreements are leased by third parties. The bill was introduced to make the network leasing process more transparent. Currently, dentists are not always aware that their existing contract with a health care benefit plan will be transferred or sold as part of a leased network.
Bill sponsored by CDA protects dentists during network leasing
Moving through the state Legislature is a CDA-sponsored bill that, if signed into law, will bring more transparency to network leasing by dental benefit plans — a process that often leaves dentists and their patients in the dark. The growing trend of network leasing is causing confusion and difficulties for California dentists and their patients.
Promising changes for providers: Demystifying the state dental program
Dentists who want to better understand recent changes to the Medi-Cal Dental Program, including the substantial rate increases and a streamlined application process for providers, can attend a course this May at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in Anaheim. The course is hosted by CDA Public Affairs and is intended both for current and potential providers.
Prop. 56 dentists loan repayment program opens April 1, awards up to $300K
A new loan repayment program is available for dentists and physicians who provide direct patient care to Medi-Cal beneficiaries. Eligible dentists may apply through Physicians for a Healthy California to receive up to $300,000 to apply toward their student loans in exchange for a five-year service obligation as a Medi-Cal provider.
CDA bill makes silver diamine fluoride a covered Medi-Cal benefit
Silver diamine fluoride would become a covered benefit as a treatment option for tooth decay for specified Medi-Cal Dental Program enrollees under a new bill authored by Sen. Richard Pan. Senate Bill 154 would make SDF a covered benefit if applied as part of a patient’s comprehensive treatment plan and with the patient’s written informed consent.
Statewide conference in May focuses on future of health care delivery in California
Dentists and other health care providers are encouraged to attend Health Information Technology After Meaningful Use — a statewide conference happening May 13 in Sacramento and hosted by CalHIPSO, an organization formed through a partnership of the California Medical Association, the California Primary Care Association and the California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems.
Prescribers can use existing controlled-substance Rx forms until January 2021
A bill to address problems implementing new requirements for controlled-substance prescription forms sailed through the California Legislature and is expected to receive Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature this week. Assembly Bill 149 delays the requirement that prescribers use a new form approved by the Department of Justice as part of an earlier bill that passed last year.
CDA supports bills targeting Coke and Pepsi in California
A broad coalition of dentists, physicians, and public health advocates announced their support for a package of bills aimed at reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and ensuring that corporations like The Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. stop targeting low-income communities and pay their fair share of public health costs.
State program expands provider incentives to new counties
Dentists in 26 counties have a new opportunity to participate in the Dental Transformation Initiative to help improve dental health for low-income children enrolled in the Medi-Cal Program while receiving enhanced reimbursement by meeting specific incentive metrics. As part of California's 1115 waiver, the DTI focuses on high-value care, improved access to dental care, and the use of performance measures to improve the program through four “domains.”
Appreciative patients share stories of pain relieved, smiles restored
In just over a month, CDA Cares volunteers will deliver no-cost dental services to an estimated 1,950 individuals who experience barriers to care. Over two days, March 8-9, at the Solano County Fairgrounds in Vallejo, Calif., dentists, hygienists, lab technicians, dental assistants and other professionals will volunteer their services and time, providing cleanings, extractions, root canals, dentures, triage and oral health education. The Foundation still seeks volunteers in all clinical areas, especially oral surgeons, lab techs and nurses and physicians for medical triage.
Give Kids a Smile 2019 kicks off Feb. 1
Local dental societies are teaming up with the ADA once again for the annual Give Kids a Smile program, a volunteer initiative to provide dental screenings, treatment and education at no charge to underserved children. Give Kids a Smile kicks off the first Friday in February to coincide with National Children’s Dental Health Month. This year, the date is Feb. 1; however, GKAS programs can take place throughout the year.
Medi-Cal Dental Program improvements aim to recruit, retain providers
Through the improved Medi-Cal Dental Program, more than 13 million individuals are eligible for dental benefits, and a streamlined application and significant rate increases are prompting more dentists to join the program as providers. The changes follow years of action to improve the program, including CDA’s efforts to educate the public and policymakers about the importance of good oral health care. Jennifer Kent, director of the California Department of Health Care Services, in this Q&A discusses the program’s recent changes and what dentists can expect as providers.
Forensic odontologists help identify victims of disaster, crime
As the smoke cleared from the Northern California wildfire that destroyed more than 153,000 acres, 18,804 structures and most of the town of Paradise last November, four CDA members worked night and day at the Sacramento morgue to help identify the remains of victims who died in that fire. Led by California Assemblymember Jim Wood, DDS, the team of forensic odontologists, including Drs. George Gould, Roland Chew, Mark Porco and Duane Spencer, examined teeth, tooth roots, metal crowns and porcelain fillings.
Prop. 56 Dental Loan Repayment Program will award up to $300K
Preliminary criteria for the Prop. 56 Dental Loan Repayment Program were recently announced by the California Department of Health Care Services. The program will repay up to $300,000 toward student loans for dentists who commit to serving Denti-Cal beneficiaries. Applications will open this spring with participants selected no later than July 1.
Smile, California: Helping Medi-Cal members use their dental benefit
A campaign to increase Medicaid-enrolled members’ use of Medi-Cal’s dental benefit was launched recently by the California Department of Health Care Services as part of an integrated plan to improve the overall performance of the state’s dental program. The “Smile, California” campaign will educate eligible members about the free and low-cost services available to maintain good oral health and make it easier for members to access care. Outreach efforts also focus on recruiting and maintaining providers.
Clarification on new infection control requirement for dental pulp procedures
Dentists have contacted CDA Practice Support with questions about the new infection-control requirement that all licensed dentists in California should be following as of Jan. 1, 2019. As explained in a December Update article and according to the new law, when performing procedures on exposed dental pulp, water or other methods used for irrigation must be “sterile or contain recognized disinfecting or antibacterial properties.”
New infection control standard for procedures that expose dental pulp
When performing procedures on exposed dental pulp, water or other methods used for irrigation must be “sterile or contain recognized disinfecting or antibacterial properties,” according to a new requirement that all licensed dentists in California must follow beginning Jan. 1, 2019. CDA worked with the state Legislature to ensure the new requirement appropriately addressed the vulnerability that occurs during treatment of exposed dental pulp.
New opioid laws will affect dentistry in 2019 and beyond
Many bills were introduced over the past year to combat the opioid epidemic in California, as CDA previously reported. Here is an overview of CDA-supported legislation in the areas of e-prescribing, informed consent, interstate data sharing and prescription-pad requirements, that Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law in September and how these bills will affect the practice of dentistry.
Higher reimbursement rates in effect for Medi-Cal dental program
New state revenue from the taxation of tobacco products, along with support from legislators and Gov. Jerry Brown, is putting over half a billion dollars toward increased Medi-Cal dental provider reimbursements for 2018-19. The higher reimbursement follows years of activity to improve the Medi-Cal dental program and increase access to oral health care for California’s 13.5 million Medi-Cal members.
Dental hygiene regulatory entity becomes board in 2018 sunset review
This year, the Dental Hygiene Committee of California underwent its second sunset review, which was signed into law Sept. 17 by Gov. Jerry Brown, extending the committee’s regulatory authority until Jan. 1, 2023. The DHCC underwent two major changes during the sunset review. In addition to a formal name change to the Dental Hygiene Board of California, the DHCC will no longer be officially under the jurisdiction of the dental board.
Legislative victory: Dental Plan Transparency Act passes

CDA’s sponsored legislation calling for more value and transparency from dental plans passed the California Legislature with bipartisan support and was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 29. CDA and the author of SB 1008, Sen. Nancy Skinner, worked closely with stakeholders to ensure the best outcome for CDA members and consumers in California — increased transparency, accountability and value from dental benefit plans.

CDA Cares set to return to Modesto, site of first clinic
After six years and 13 clinics, CDA Cares, the volunteer-run dental program hosted by the CDA Foundation, is preparing for a return to Modesto, Calif. — site of the inaugural clinic in 2012. And while every CDA Cares can be considered successful in terms of the number of patients served — 1,950 on average — and the number of no-cost dental services provided, longtime volunteers say a lot has changed since the first clinic took shape in the Central Valley city.
Eligible Premier providers to receive settlement payments
Approximately 14,000 dentists are expected to receive payments by the end of October as part of CDA’s settlement agreement with Delta Dental. The agreement, which was approved by the court in May and followed by a 60-day appeal period, provides $65 million to Premier providers who had their fees impacted by Delta Dental’s “inflationary adjustment percentage.” Dentists who did not have their fees reduced improperly by the inflationary adjustment percentage will not receive payments.
Soda tax initiative would generate billions for health care, LAO concludes
The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office has concluded that the California Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax Act of 2020, a ballot measure filed in July by CDA and CMA, would generate an estimated $2-3 billion annually from a statewide sales tax of 2 cents per ounce on sugar-sweetened beverages. Between $1.6 billion and $2.5 billion of that revenue would be dedicated exclusively to health care.
Legislation, report highlight need for dental plan transparency
A CDA-sponsored bill requiring standardized disclosures from dental plans is headed to the governor’s desk as a new journal paper highlights the need to establish greater transparency from dental plans to protect consumers. The paper, based on a CDA-commissioned report, makes the case for a minimum dental loss ratio. Currently, no minimum standard exists for dental plans to spend a certain percentage of patient premiums directly on patient care.
CDA Presents course will explain promising changes to state's dental program
Promising changes to the Medi-Cal dental program, including substantial rate increases and a streamlined provider application that saves applicants significant time, are making it more enticing for dentists to become Denti-Cal providers. Now, dentists have an opportunity to learn the details about these changes and additional Denti-Cal program investments at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in September.
Delta Dental settlement notices mailed to eligible providers
A class action settlement administrator has mailed allocation notices to approximately 14,000 Premier providers eligible for payments under CDA’s settlement agreement with Delta Dental. Although eligible dentists do not need to file a claim in order to receive their portion of the $65 million settlement, they should read the notice carefully and supply any requested changes of address.
Eligible Premier providers to be mailed Delta Dental settlement notices

Dentists eligible for payments under CDA’s settlement agreement with Delta Dental should expect to receive allocation notices within a few weeks. The class action settlement administrator plans to mail letters to approximately 14,000 Premier providers who had their fees impacted by Delta Dental’s “inflationary adjustment percentage.”

CDA, CMA file statewide soda tax measure for 2020
A ballot measure to protect public health through a state soda tax has been filed for the November 2020 ballot by CDA and the California Medical Association. The filing comes four days after the multibillion-dollar soda industry proposed a ballot measure that jeopardized the fiscal outlook of local governments, forcing the state to pre-empt local authority and pass an unprecedented 12-year moratorium on any local soda tax.
Dentists receive unprecedented $30M for student loan repayment in state budget
The 2018-19 state budget signed by Gov. Jerry Brown dedicates $210 million from the Proposition 56 Tobacco Tax revenue to Denti-Cal providers, a $70 million increase from last year’s amount. And a new aspect in this year’s budget is an additional one-time allocation of $30 million toward a program that would repay student loans for dentists who commit to serving Denti-Cal beneficiaries and locate their practice in a county or region that lacks adequate providers.
Bill to increase dental plan transparency clears Senate with bipartisan support
CDA-sponsored Senate Bill 1008 (Skinner, D-Berkeley), which calls for more value and transparency from dental plans, is moving swiftly through the Legislature. The bill in late May passed the Senate with bipartisan support despite strong opposition from the dental plan lobby. SB 1008 supports patient choice of provider and helps level the playing field for providers and patients.
Top 8 questions asked about the Delta Dental settlement
CDA Practice Support is hearing from members who have questions about the Delta Dental settlement, which CDA secured final court approval of in late April. Provided here are members’ top questions, compiled and answered by Practice Support. Questions include “What started the legal action that led to this settlement?” and “Are there any benefits beyond the $65 million payment?”
CDA-supported bills modify opioid prescribing, CURES requirements
At least 130 bills to combat the nation’s opioid epidemic have been introduced in U.S. Congress since January, and California is mounting its own legislative efforts to curb opioid abuse. CDA has identified 19 bills in the current session that can be classified into five main categories of opioid legislation. Among these, CDA is taking an official support position on five bills and a support if amended position on a sixth. A summary of the bills and how they may impact the way dentists practice and prescribe follows.
State dental director and CDA present at National Oral Health Conference
The five-day National Oral Health Conference is an annual meeting of health professionals who are working to improve the oral health of populations in the U.S. and around the world. The conference brings together experts in science, academia, public health, advocacy and clinical practice to explore promising programs and policies for oral health across the lifespan. This year, CDA’s work in this field was showcased in two presentations with California State Dental Director Jay Kumar, DDS, also presenting.
Bill that would regulate provider rates won't advance in 2018
Assembly Bill 3087 was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee May 25 and will not move forward in the current legislative session. As CDA first reported in April, AB 3087 would have created a new government commission of appointed members to regulate and cap commercial payment rates for health care providers. The Assembly heard the strong concerns raised by CDA and a large coalition of health care providers, including through direct member advocacy and grassroots efforts.
CDA Foundation annual report highlights impact of key programs
The CDA Foundation has published its annual report highlighting the health, hope and happiness provided to individuals in 2017 through ongoing Foundation programs, including two student loan repayment grants, the Dental Materials and Supplies Grant and CDA Cares — the volunteer-run dental clinic held twice annually in communities throughout California.
Silver diamine fluoride bill passes through first Senate committee hearing
CDA-sponsored legislation, Senate Bill 1148 (Pan, D-Sacramento), which if passed would allow dentists who provide care in the Medi-Cal dental program to be reimbursed when they use silver diamine fluoride for dental caries treatment, passed out of its first committee hearing — the Senate Health Committee — in April and was due to be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee in late May.
CDA Cares Anaheim clinic delivers dental care to 2,019 people
The CDA Foundation’s volunteer dental clinic, CDA Cares, provided $1,537,951 in charitable dental services to 2,019 people during the April 27-28 event at the Anaheim Convention Center. During the two-day event, dentists and dental professionals provided more than 11,858 procedures, including fillings, extractions, cleanings and oral health education.
CDA secures final court approval of $65M Delta Dental settlement for dentists

A San Francisco Superior Court judge has granted final approval of the $65 million amended settlement agreement between Delta Dental of California and the plaintiff class of Premier dentists. The comprehensive settlement is the result of a lengthy legal battle that CDA initiated in 2013 after learning of Delta Dental’s plans to reduce Premier provider rates by 8 to 12 percent. CDA brought the litigation in order to protect the rights of its members and to require Delta Dental to honor the terms of its contracts.

Little Hoover Commission examines changes in Denti-Cal program
California's Little Hoover Commission, an independent state oversight agency, held a special hearing March 22 to assess progress within the Denti-Cal program since the commission released the April 2016 report titled Fixing Denti-Cal. The commission heard from several panels, including Denti-Cal providers who serve the population in a variety of settings. CDA member dentist Nagaraj Murthy, DDS, spoke about his experiences as a long-term Denti-Cal program provider.
Legislation, CDA Presents lecture, address prescription opioid abuse and CURES
On the legislative front, in California alone, more than two dozen bills that address opioid prescription and misuse are working their way through the Legislature, including several by Assemblymember Jim Wood, DDS. Meanwhile, CDA continues to provide education and resources on opioid prescribing to members and dentists throughout California. In May at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in Anaheim, CDA Public Affairs will host “Clinical and Legal Considerations for Prescribing Controlled Substances.”
CDA opposes bill that would allow state to set health care prices
CDA last week became aware of a bill that seeks to regulate and cap provider rates to a percentage of Medicare. Assembly Bill 3087 raises significant concerns about fracturing the market and undermining the ability of providers to balance their patient mix. CDA joins a number of other major provider groups representing a wide range of California health care professionals in voicing deep concerns about AB 3087 and issued a statement from CDA President Natasha Lee, DDS.
Presenting sponsors line up to support CDA Cares Anaheim
With new and continued support from community members and key sponsors like Global Experience Specialists, Henry Schein, Planmeca USA, Sota Imaging, Western Dental, The Dentists Insurance Company and The Dentists Service Company, CDA Cares is now gearing up for its 13th volunteer dental event April 27-28 at the Anaheim Convention Center.
CDA, CSPD, sponsor bill to expand health plan coverage for dental anesthesia
If enacted, Assembly Bill 2643, co-sponsored by CDA and the California Society of Pediatric Dentistry, would require medical insurance plans to cover general anesthesia costs in the dental office setting when a patient’s developmental or other physical condition prevents that patient from receiving dental treatment unless deeply sedated but does not necessitate a hospital setting for care.
Silver diamine fluoride covered under Denti-Cal with CDA-sponsored bill
CDA is sponsoring new legislation that will allow dentists who provide care in the Medi-Cal dental program to be reimbursed when using silver diamine fluoride as a caries arresting agent. With the passage of Senate Bill 1148, SDF will be placed in dentists’ tool belts as an evidence-based option to manage dental caries when used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, particularly beneficial with patients who present challenges to receiving traditional treatment.
CDA Cares 'brings the profession closer together as a whole'
As chair of the Anaheim CDA Cares Local Arrangements Committee, John Taylor, DDS, oversees a committee that helps recruit volunteers from the dental profession and general community, raises funds and secures pharmaceuticals and local dental lab equipment before the CDA Foundation’s two-day dental clinic opens its doors April 27 at the Anaheim Convention Center. CDA spoke with Taylor about his past experiences in the clinics, preparations for CDA Cares Anaheim and the regional need for the clinic.
CDA legislation calls for more value, transparency, from dental plans
New legislation sponsored by CDA and introduced by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) is working to increase value and transparency of dental benefit plans. Senate Bill 1008 calls for the establishment of a minimum dental loss ratio for individual, small and large group dental benefit products and requires increased transparency for consumers who purchase dental savings or dental discount products by requiring standardized disclosures of what a dental benefit plan does or does not provide.
Unexpected opportunities: Q&A with LDPP ambassador Jared Fine, DDS
For more than 38 years, Jared Fine, DDS, MPH, was the dental health administrator for the Alameda County Public Health Department, where he built one of the most progressive and effective dental health programs in the state. After retiring from the department, Fine became an advocate for sugar-sweetened beverage taxation in Oakland. He is now the community dental ambassador for the Alameda County Local Dental Pilot Project. In this Q&A, Fine talks about that project and the role of private dentists.
A day at the Capitol: Dental students advocate for dentistry and oral health
Students representing California dental schools traveled to Sacramento in February to meet with legislators and their staff, tour the Capitol building and learn how to advocate as part of Grassroots Advocacy Days. CDA hosts the day-long events every year to give students an opportunity to meet with their district representatives to discuss critical issues affecting dentistry.
CDA Journal features school-based oral health care programs
The March Journal of the California Dental Association provides readers with a collaborative approach to advancing oral health equity in pediatrics through the use of nontraditional dental clinics such as school-based oral health care programs. Articles discuss financial options for sustaining school-based oral health centers; the impact of those oral health centers on absence rates and dental pain in a K-8 school; web-based software that facilitates communication remotely between patients and oral health care providers and more.
Delta Dental settlement information available online
Dentists seeking information regarding CDA’s amended settlement agreement with Delta Dental can find all related information posted at Under the settlement agreement, Delta Dental must pay $65 million to Premier Providers whose rates were impacted by an inflationary guard. Not every Premier Provider had his or her fees reduced by this procedure, but those who did will receive some proportionate reimbursement.
CDA Cares Anaheim is almost here — share why you care in 3 steps
Thousands of Californians receive no-cost dental treatment at CDA Cares, the CDA Foundation’s biannual clinic. For some of these individuals, the treatment is life-changing, but the lives of volunteers are also changed by giving others health, hope and happiness. CDA Cares comes to Anaheim April 27–28. If you volunteer for or donate to CDA Cares, you can easily share why you care with our social media toolkit.
Dental Materials & Supplies Grant awards up to $25K of in-kind goods
The CDA Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2018 Dental Materials & Supplies Grant. In partnership with Henry Schein Cares, this program supports nonprofit organizations with the dental supplies and materials they need to provide oral health services to underserved individuals in their communities.
New state oral health plan provides road map for all Californians
A 10-year plan for addressing the major oral health issues in California was released in late January by the California Department of Public Health. Developed over three years in collaboration with the Department of Health Care Services, the plan identifies strategies to improve oral health over the lifespan and to achieve oral health equity for the state’s diverse population.
Far-flung relatives witness patient's first glimpse of smile at CDA Cares
In the small, close-knit Tongan community in Hayward and the surrounding region, word spread rapidly about a no-cost dental clinic that would visit nearby San Mateo in spring of 2017. Among those who learned about the CDA Foundation’s two-day, volunteer-run biannual clinic was a woman named Eva.
CHIP funding extension protects health coverage for millions in California
Affordable pediatric-appropriate health coverage for 2 million children and pregnant women in California and nearly 9 million children nationwide will continue through fiscal year 2027 as a result of a budget deal passed Feb. 9 by Congress and signed by President Trump. The agreement ended the second, if brief, government shutdown in a month.
Providers join forces to protect California’s health care system
CDA has joined a broad coalition of more than 100,000 California physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, community clinics and pharmacists in a new effort to protect the gains California has made under the Affordable Care Act and improve California’s health care system. The Coalition to Protect Access to Care will actively oppose efforts in Washington to repeal and replace the ACA, which would strip health insurance from millions of Californians.
National Children’s Dental Health Month kicks off Feb. 1
Local dental societies this February can participate in National Children’s Dental Health Month by planning any number of activities, from offering dental health screenings and giving school presentations to organizing coloring or essay contests and sponsoring a display at the local library. Suggested activities and ideas to assist with publicity efforts are available in the downloadable 2018 NCDHM Program Planning Guide available on the ADA’s website.
Proposed 2018-19 state budget increases Proposition 56 funding
The following is a statement from Natasha Lee, DDS, president of the California Dental Association regarding Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed 2018-19 state budget that was released today.
Quick reference guide, more details on Denti-Cal adult benefit restoration in 2018
Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, adults enrolled in the Denti-Cal program are eligible for an expanded set of dental benefits. The Department of Health Care Services on Nov. 9 issued a special provider bulletin to clarify the dental services that providers may render, bill and be reimbursed for by Denti-Cal in 2018, including scaling and root planing, partial dentures and posterior root canals.
CDA negotiates larger settlement for Delta Dental Premier dentists
A revised proposed settlement agreement between Delta Dental of California and the plaintiff class of Premier dentists has been filed in Superior Court. The revised settlement includes an agreement by Delta Dental to pay an unprecedented monetary award that nearly doubles the amount the parties had previously agreed upon to more than $65 million.
Stakes high for California without renewed CHIP funding
Despite broad bipartisan support, Congress neglected to take action to extend Children’s Health Insurance (CHIP) funding before it expired Sept. 30. The consequences of Congress’ delay are creating stressful uncertainty for states and families across the country. Sixteen states, including California, will run out of funding for the CHIP program by the end of January. CDA is calling on its members to help protect coverage for children and hard-fought improvements in the Denti-Cal program.
Supplemental reimbursements receive federal approval
Significant rate increases for hundreds of procedures covered by Denti-Cal have been approved by the federal government. The supplemental payments of 40 percent are the result of CDA-sponsored Proposition 56 and the unprecedented investment of $140 million in the Denti-Cal program, which will be matched with federal dollars for a potential total of $350 million for fiscal year 2017-18.
Protect dental coverage for millions: Urge your representatives to extend CHIP funding
California’s CHIP funding will run out next month and the state will be confronted with a huge budget gap for CHIP children’s Medi-Cal coverage, potentially as much as $1 billion dollars or more. CDA is calling on dentists to act now to protect dental and health care coverage for millions of children and pregnant women in California. Contact your senators and representative in Congress to urge them to take swift action to extend CHIP funding.
Student Loan Repayment Grant recipient to advocate for underserved
For Daniel Ramirez, DDS, personally encountering barriers to care in his early years ignited a passion for health care and an appreciation for the importance of diversity within the field. Dr. Ramirez, recipient of the CDA Foundation’s 2017 Student Loan Repayment Grant, grew up with two siblings and a disabled mother whose income was more than 500 percent below the poverty level. But he says he now embraces this adversity.
$295M settlement reached on behalf of Stericycle customers
A $295 million settlement has been reached on behalf of a nationwide class of Stericycle customers, following a class-action lawsuit accusing the company of engaging in a price-increasing scheme that automatically inflated customers’ bills up to 18 percent biannually, according to a news release from Hagens Berman, the Chicago-based law firm that represented the class.
New benefits for Denti-Cal adults in 2018
More than 7 million adults enrolled in Denti-Cal, California’s Medicaid dental program, will have a fully restored package of dental benefits in 2018. The adult benefit package was drastically cut in 2009 due to the state budget crisis and was partially restored in May 2014. The restoration of the adult dental benefit services is a result of legislative action taken during the 2017-18 budget process.
Latest effort to derail ACA fails, sparing California a $139M budget loss
A last-ditch health care bill to replace the Affordable Care Act failed to advance in the Senate prior to the Sept. 30 budget reconciliation deadline. CDA, the California Medical Association and California Hospital Association sent letters to members of the California congressional delegation asking them to oppose the Graham-Cassidy Block Grant amendment to the American Health Care Act due to the negative implication for Californians.
CDA-sponsored bill to improve quality of oral health data becomes law
In response to goals identified in the draft California State Oral Health Plan, CDA this year co-sponsored Senate Bill 379, co-authored by Toni Atkins. The bill makes statutory updates that will facilitate the efficient collection of oral health data at schools. SB 379 also enables schools to facilitate screenings by streamlining the consent process for on-site oral health assessments.
Open enrollment for 2018 Covered California dental plans begins Nov. 1
Covered California, California’s health insurance marketplace for the federal Affordable Care Act, has released the participating dental plans for the 2018 benefit year. Despite concerns about marketplace challenges, limited plan offerings and premium increases around the country, California’s marketplace remains stable and high-performing.
CDA Cares provides $1.25 million in care, marks 12th successful event
The Oct. 6-7 CDA Cares event in Bakersfield marked the CDA Foundation’s 12th successful volunteer dental clinic — providing more than $1.25 million in care to 1,506 people over two days at the Kern County Fairgrounds. In addition to providing oral health care services at no charge to those in need, CDA Cares educates the public and policymakers about the importance of good oral health and the need for a well-functioning Denti-Cal program.
View stories, photos at CDA Cares Social Hub
CDA Cares Bakersfield wrapped up Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Kern County Fairgrounds, but volunteers and supporters can still catch up on stories shared during the clinic. To view and post photos and stories, visit the CDA Cares Social Hub, a live feed that captures social media posts using the #cdacares hashtag.
Delta hearing scheduled for Oct. 11
A case management conference related to CDA's proposed settlement agreement with Delta Dental has been rescheduled for Oct. 11, from the previous date of Aug. 25. The hearing was scheduled to provide additional time for CDA, Delta Dental and the court to review procedures that were used to estimate the impact of the inflation adjustment percentage.
Discussion on pediatric dental anesthesia legislation to continue in 2018
More discussion is in store for Senate Bill 501, the CalAOMS-sponsored legislation introduced by Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) early this year and supported by CDA to improve safety in pediatric dental anesthesia.
CDA urges Congress to oppose detrimental health care amendment
CDA along with the California Medical Association and California Hospital Association sent the following letter to members of the California congressional delegation asking them to oppose the Graham Cassidy Block Grant amendment to the American Health Care Act.
Sponsors contribute to CDA Cares Bakersfield
Three key sponsors have stepped up to support the next CDA Cares set for Oct. 6–7 at the Kern County Fairgrounds in Bakersfield. Henry Schein Dental and Western Dental are longtime supporters of CDA Cares, contributing $50,000 pledges, a volunteer workforce and equipment and supplies for the events. Patterson Dental also stepped up with a pledge valued at $50,000 to help ensure the Bakersfield clinic is successful.
$30M annual boost to state oral health program
Five years after CDA developed a proposal to reduce barriers to dental care in California, several of the proposal’s objectives have come to pass. Most notably was the 2015 installation of Jayanth Kumar, DDS, MPH, as state dental director. And now, thanks in part to the passage of Proposition 56, the state oral health plan that CDA and other stakeholders helped develop over the past year will receive a significant financial boost of $30 million annually.
ACA reform shifts toward bipartisan effort
CDA continues to monitor Congressional efforts in Washington D.C. to repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act. After several failed attempts by the Senate in late July and early August to pass repeal/replacement proposals, both chambers of Congress are working toward finding a bipartisan solution to stabilize the individual health coverage market.
Up to $50,000 awarded by State Loan Repayment Program
Applications are being accepted now through Oct. 1 for the 2017 California State Loan Repayment Program. SLRP assists health care providers, including dentists and dental hygienists, with repayment of qualified educational loans in exchange for their initial commitment to either two years of full-time or four years of half-time service.
CDA-supported pediatric anesthesia bill moves forward
Of the three bills introduced in the Legislature early this year to improve safety in pediatric dental anesthesia, only Senate Bill 501 (Glazer, D-Orinda), which CDA supports, will advance in the current legislative session. The Assembly Business and Professions Committee on July 11 passed SB 501 on a bipartisan, unanimous vote.
Rate increases and benefit restoration for Denti-Cal program
The Department of Health Care Services on June 30 announced hundreds of procedure codes will receive a 40 percent supplemental rate increase as the result of Proposition 56, the tobacco tax measure sponsored and supported by CDA and approved by voters last November. Over $1 billion of the tobacco tax revenue is allocated to improved payments to physicians and dentists who treat Medi-Cal patients.
August Journal addresses barriers to dental care access
The August Journal of the California Dental Association outlines efforts to set the foundation for two major initiatives supported by CDA — the Dental Transformative Initiative and the Department of Public Health’s State Oral Health Program. Articles discuss the concepts and frameworks of creating a state oral health plan for California; approaches that three local health departments used to address oral health problems in their communities; and more.
Father-daughter duo to volunteer at next CDA Cares
Retired dentist Bob Chiurazzi, DDS, and his daughter Heather Chiurazzi, a first-year dental student at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry, volunteer side by side at CDA Cares and have missed volunteering just once since CDA Cares held its first event in Modesto in 2012. The pair looks forward to working together again in the oral surgery department at CDA Cares Bakersfield, Oct. 6–7.
State could face $30B in new costs under BCRA
A new analysis from the California Department of Health Care Services and the Department of Finance finds that California could face more than $30 billion annually in additional health care costs over the next decade under the Senate proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The Senate bill, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), would increase state costs even more than the $24.3 billion estimate under the House’s American Health Care Act proposal. A comparative chart offered here outlines the current proposals and the implications nationally.
Rate increases expected for hundreds of procedures under state program
As California’s new fiscal year starts, dentists can expect significant reimbursement increases for hundreds of procedures covered by Denti-Cal because of the passage of CDA-sponsored and supported Proposition 56, the tobacco tax measure. With anticipated federal participation, it is expected that an estimated $300 million in additional funding will be committed to increasing coverage for dental care in the program.
Hearing date for Delta Dental settlement to be rescheduled
A San Francisco Superior Court judge has delayed dates related to CDA’s proposed settlement agreement with Delta Dental — the June 26 deadline to opt out or object to the proposed settlement and the Aug. 31 hearing on final approval. The action will provide additional time for CDA, Delta Dental and the court to review procedures that were used to estimate the impact of the inflation adjustment percentage (INAP). Delta Dental’s INAP is the basis for the alleged underpayment to class members.
CDA engages policymakers as ACA reform efforts continue
The House of Representatives’ vote May 4 to approve the American Health Care Act is the first step down a long, winding road of a possible repeal or replacement of the Affordable Care Act. CDA and other health care organizations have expressed their concerns to policymakers that the AHCA would harm Californians due to the erosion of pre-existing condition protections, decrease patient access to physicians and dentists and cause over 3 million Californians to lose health care coverage.
Selected local pilot projects to improve children's oral health
Dentists in selected counties have an opportunity to participate in pilot projects that seek to improve the oral health of California children enrolled in Denti-Cal. In February 2017, the Department of Health Care Services announced the 15 selected proposals for Local Dental Pilot Project funding, with awards totaling $150 million over four years.
State budget more closely honors will of Prop. 56 voters
Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Legislature engaged in heated negotiations before passing a final budget by a constitutionally mandated deadline of June 15. A major focus of those negotiations was the use of Proposition 56 tobacco tax revenues, for which CDA and its partners engaged in an internal and external advocacy campaign.
Delta Dental proposed settlement notices mailed
Dentists who are part of a class action lawsuit against Delta Dental of California should have received by mail a notice of the proposed settlement. Preliminary approval of the proposed settlement by a San Francisco Superior Court judge on April 21 triggered a settlement administrator to issue formal notices to dentists who are part of the class. The notices were mailed on May 11.
Volunteers, community changed by CDA Cares San Mateo
As the early morning sun slipped through the fog hovering over San Francisco Bay on April 22, thousands of dental professionals and community members began slipping into the San Mateo Event Center for CDA Cares, the Foundation’s biannual volunteer dental program. Some were there to volunteer their time and expertise, while others lined up at the gate to be escorted inside for dental services offered at no charge.
Get the word on dental sealants in May 22 webinar
Dentists can learn about the scientific evidence that supports the use, safety and benefits of sealants and review the ADA clinical practice guideline for the use of pit and fissure sealants at an upcoming webinar. Registration for the one-hour webinar is quick and easy and participants who complete the webinar can receive C.E. credit.
Action alert: Oppose swipe of dental funds
CDA encourages dentists to share their opposition to Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal for Proposition 56 funds that voters intended to be used for improving access to care. CDA, the California Medical Association and coalition partners are strongly advocating for Proposition 56 funding to be used as voters intended. Dentists may have their voices heard by visiting and submitting a petition to state legislative leaders, who will make final budget decisions very soon.
Pediatric anesthesia legislation advances
Three bills that seek to improve safety in pediatric dental anesthesia are moving through the state Legislature, including CDA-supported Senate Bill 392 and Senate Bill 501. The three pieces of legislation passed out of policy committees following robust discussion at the Capitol, April 24-25, with CDA and other medical and dental organizations as well as individual stakeholders presenting testimony on the bills.
Workgroup monitors ACA reform efforts for CDA members
CDA has assembled a group of volunteer dentists to monitor the impact of federal ACA reform efforts on behalf of CDA members. Since December 2016, this workgroup has been gathering information and meeting regularly with policymakers to assess the potential impact on California dentists of all federal proposals to repeal, amend or replace the ACA. In addition, a course offered at CDA Presents Anaheim will discuss the potential impact of the ACA reform on consumers and the dental profession.
Bill updates standards for infection control
Making its way through the state Capitol is a key piece of legislation that, if passed, would improve infection control safety in dentistry. Assembly Bill 1277 calls for the Dental Board of California to amend the regulations on the minimum standards for infection control for certain dental procedures that expose the dental pulp and may create an opportunity for infection. CDA has taken a “support” position on the bill.
Delta Dental proposed settlement notices to be mailed by May 12
A San Francisco Superior Court judge has granted preliminary approval of a proposed settlement between CDA and Delta Dental of California. The preliminary approval triggers a settlement administrator to issue formal notices to the class of dentists who are affected by the proposed settlement. Dentists should expect to receive their formal notices in the mail in mid-to-late May.
Dental students become advocates at state Capitol
Two dozen students from California’s six dental schools descended upon the state Capitol over two days in February and March to meet with legislators and discuss issues of pressing importance to the dental profession while gaining insights on the legislative process. These meetings form the backbone of CDA’s Grassroots Advocacy Days and all students arrived with an interest in improving legislative policy as it relates to public health.
Dentists provide $1.6M in donated care
Charitable dental services totaling nearly $1.6 million were provided to 1,973 people at CDA Cares in San Mateo, thanks to more than 2,300 volunteers, including 930 dentists and dental professionals and hundreds of dental students and community members, who donated their time and services to the event held April 22-23.
CDA sponsors bill to improve quality of oral health data
Senate Bill 379 (Atkins, San Diego), co-sponsored by CDA, would amend the law to improve both the quantity and quality of the oral health data collected. The statutory updates in the bill will also facilitate the efficient collection of the data by ensuring it is reported to one entity — the Office of Oral Health within the Department of Public Health.
CDA, CMA proposal honors will of tobacco tax voters
Two weeks before the Proposition 56 tobacco tax went into effect in California, the California Dental Association and California Medical Association teamed up to ensure the additional $2 per pack smokers began paying on April 1 would be used as voters intended the dollars to be used — to increase access to care by boosting the level of payment for health care, services and treatment.
Help raise oral cancer awareness in April
With almost 50,000 people in the U.S. estimated to be diagnosed with oral cancer this year, dentists are urged to take part in Oral Cancer Awareness Month in April to help spread information about the prevention of oral cancer and the need for early detection. The Oral Cancer Foundation and offer tips for dentists who wish to participate in or help promote Oral Cancer Awareness Month.
Sponsors make 'powerful' pledges to CDA Cares
More than 20,000 people to date have benefited from $16.4 million in dental services provided by CDA Cares, thanks to the support of community members like Henry Schein, Western Dental, San Mateo County and TDIC, the key sponsors of the CDA Foundation’s next Cares event set for April 22-23 at the San Mateo Event Center located on the San Francisco Peninsula.
Dental students participate in Grassroots Advocacy Days
Grassroots Advocacy Days kicked off in Sacramento in mid-February with a visit from dental students from the University of California, San Francisco, School of Dentistry and the University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. CDA hosts the advocacy days to give dental students and component members the opportunity to meet with legislators, tour the Capitol building and gain insights on the legislative process.
State awards $150 million to Local Dental Pilot Projects
In February 2017, the Department of Health Care Services announced the 15 selected proposals for Local Dental Pilot Project (LDPP) funding, with awards totaling $150 million over four years. Local Dental Pilot Projects are one of the four domains of the Dental Transformation Initiative and part of California’s 1115 waiver, or Medi-Cal 2020. The DTI represents a huge $740 million investment in the Denti-Cal Program and the oral health of Californians.
CDA achieves significant settlement in Delta legal action
After a long legal battle against Delta Dental, CDA achieved a favorable outcome on behalf of dentists regarding Delta's attempt to reduce Premier Provider reimbursement rates. In a letter to members, CDA President Clelan Ehrler, DDS, MS, outlines the successful outcome and provides a summary of settlement details.
New life for Kindergarten Oral Health Requirement
Students’ oral health is receiving a big push in Los Angeles schools. The Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education in January unanimously approved a resolution that seeks to enforce AB 1433, known as the Kindergarten Oral Health Requirement, by recognizing February as Children’s Dental Health Month, among other actions.
Momentum builds for CDA Cares San Mateo
Preparations for the San Mateo event have been in the works for nearly a year, with local organizers busy with behind-the-scenes details such as fundraising and garnering supplies and volunteer meals. Carliza Marcos, DDS, chair of the local arrangements committee, says that in addition to renewed interest among the army of “regulars” who donate time at CDA Cares, there’s a buzz among new volunteers who plan to experience the event for the first time.
Updated anesthesia consent form required
Under AB 2235, the pediatric anesthesia bill signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown last September, dentists are required to obtain written informed consent from the parent or legal guardian of a minor patient prior to administration of general anesthesia or conscious sedation. As part of this requirement, the written informed consent form must contain new, specific language.
New resources for dentists treating young children
First-time resources available to participating Denti-Cal providers resulted in increased access to care for the nearly 6 million California children enrolled in the Medicaid dental program in the first half of 2016. In 2016, the Department of Health Care Services rolled out the 1115 waiver, known as Medi-Cal 2020, which allocated $740 million to the Dental Transformation Initiative.
CURES 1.0 not available after March 5
CURES 1.0 will be discontinued on Sunday, March 5, 2017. The departments of Consumer Affairs and Justice have announced that beginning March 6 prescribing health care practitioners will only be able to access CURES 2.0. To securely access CURES 2.0, dentists will need to update their web browsers as specified.
Understanding dental plan audit authority
The new Congress and administration in Washington are negotiating legislation that would considerably dismantle the Affordable Care Act as one of their first objectives. While it remains to be seen what this repeal and replacement of the ACA will look like, one aspect of the ACA that will likely survive is the idea and objective of “affordable” health care.
CDA Cares volunteers sought for San Mateo event
“One of the things that I love about being a dentist is working in a profession filled with compassionate and caring people,” Carliza Marcos, DDS, says. “This spring, we will have a unique opportunity to express our commitment to helping those less fortunate in our community.” Marcos is chair of the San Mateo CDA Cares Local Arrangements Committee. CDA Cares will be held April 22-23 in San Mateo.
February is National Children's Dental Health Month
Now in its 76th year, National Children’s Dental Health Month is observed annually in February with an ADA campaign that brings together dentists and other dental professionals, health care providers and educators to “promote the benefits of good oral health to children, their caregivers, teachers and many others.”
CDA urges use of Prop. 56 funding as voters intended
The 2017-18 state budget proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown calls for using tobacco tax-generated funds from Proposition 56 to offset the state’s current obligations to Medi-Cal rather than provide additional funding for provider reimbursement rates. This proposal disregards the will of the voters and the ballot measure’s provisions.
Signups underway for Give Kids A Smile
Join the growing number of dentists participating in Give Kids A Smile, the ADA Foundation’s annual volunteer initiative to provide dental screenings, treatment and education at no charge to underserved children. Resources are available on the ADA Foundation website.
San Jose begins community water fluoridation
After years of advocating for community water fluoridation in the largest U.S. city without it, San Jose residents have finally begun receiving the benefits of fluoride. In December, the Santa Clara Valley Water District began fluoridating its water supply serving eastern portions of Santa Clara County.
E-cigarette use is harmful, says surgeon general
For the first time, a surgeon general's report focuses on e-cigarette use and concludes, "The use of products containing nicotine in any form among youth, including in e-cigarettes, is unsafe." U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, MD, on Dec. 8 published a report containing a comprehensive review of e-cigarettes as a public health issue. Studies highlighted in the report specifically address the impact of e-cigarettes on American youth and young adults.
Opportunities for dentists serving low-income children
Dentists in California now have an opportunity to participate in the Dental Transformation Initiative to help improve dental health for low-income children enrolled in the Denti-Cal program, while receiving enhanced reimbursement by meeting specific incentive metrics. As part of California's 1115 waiver, known as Medi-Cal 2020, the DTI focuses on high-value care, improved access and utilization of performance measures to drive delivery system reform.
Dental champions wanted to support community health
The California Department of Public Health’s Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Branch is recruiting the next cohort of "champion providers" to help support local health departments’ efforts to improve the health of communities by advancing local policy, systems and environmental change strategies. The department contacted CDA to express the importance of engaging dentists in this endeavor.
Recipients of 2016 CDA Foundation awards announced
Two ways the CDA Foundation gives are through community grants and educational scholarships. Over the years, these awards have enabled thousands of people to receive more than $109 million in care. The CDA Foundation has announced the recipients of four annual awards and educational scholarships.
Covered California embedded children's dental plans released
The 2017 open enrollment period for Covered California, California’s health insurance marketplace for the federal Affordable Care Act, continues through Jan. 31. CDA reported in September on the partial list of participating dental plans for 2017. The complete list of providers, along with the 2017 embedded children’s dental plans, has now been released.
Prop. 56 passes; major win for oral health
CDA is excited to report that Proposition 56, co-sponsored by CDA to raise the state’s tobacco tax by $2, passed overwhelmingly in yesterday’s election with 62 percent of the vote. Winning a ballot measure campaign in California is a massive undertaking, especially with an opposition as powerful and well-funded as the tobacco industry.
Dentists should respond to dental plan verifications
Under SB 137, which went into effect July 1, dentists contracted with dental plans must respond to a plan’s request for accurate directory information within 30 days or face payment delays, reimbursement reductions or termination of their participating provider agreement.
Registration open for Give Kids a Smile 2017
Registration is underway for Give Kids A Smile 2017, the ADA’s annual volunteer initiative to provide dental screenings, treatment and education at no charge to underserved children. GKAS program coordinators should sign up by Nov. 7 in order to be eligible to receive free product donations to support their volunteer efforts.
Advertising on Groupon allowed under new law
Legislation signed by Gov. Brown resolves a longstanding conflict concerning whether health care providers’ use of online marketing companies to advertise health care services constitutes fee splitting or payment for referrals, both of which are prohibited under state law.
CDA urges yes vote on Proposition 56
In the days leading up to the Nov. 8 General Election, the Yes on 56 campaign to save lives and increase access to health care by increasing the state’s tobacco tax continues to win endorsements, debunk Big Tobacco’s dishonest advertising and encourage supporters to continue their grassroots efforts to ensure Proposition 56 passes at the polls.
Dentists provide $1.8 million in donated care
Dentists and dental team members provided nearly $1.8 million in volunteer oral health care services to 2,066 people Oct. 15-16 at CDA Cares in Stockton. During the two-day event at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds, they performed 14,178 dental procedures, including fillings, extractions, cleanings and oral health education.
State launches children's disease management pilot
Beginning in January 2017, dentists in select California counties will have an opportunity to participate in an innovative pilot that seeks to assess and manage caries risk and emphasize the provision of preventive services to Denti-Cal-enrolled children ages 6 and under.
Gov. Brown signs CDA-sponsored loan repayment bill
In the final weeks of the state’s 2016 legislative session, Gov. Brown signed into law several bills that impact dentists, including CDA-sponsored Assembly Bill 2485 (Santiago, D-Los Angeles). Taking effect immediately as an urgency statute, AB 2485, the Dental Corps Loan Repayment Program, revises in the applicant’s favor provisions regarding program eligibility, application, selection and placement.
New oral health materials to share with parents
The Kids’ Healthy Mouths campaign has partnered again with Scholastic to offer resources for parents to reinforce their children’s good teeth-brushing habits. Dentists can visit or direct parents to Scholastic’s Healthy Teeth webpage for a list of recommended books about brushing along with downloadable bilingual materials.
Hospitals see value in supporting oral health
Hospital systems have been critical supporters of CDA Cares since 2013. Every year, due to the lack of effective and adequately funded government safety net programs, thousands of individuals seek treatment for dental pain and infection in hospital emergency rooms, compounding an already strained system.
Apply for LDPP funding by Sept. 30
The deadline to apply for Local Dental Pilot Project funding under Domain 4 of the Dental Transformation Initiative is Saturday, Sept. 30. Fifteen pilot projects will be selected to commence in January 2017.
Prop. 56 campaign blasts Big Tobacco
In the final countdown to the November election, the Yes on Prop. 56 campaign to increase California’s tobacco tax is gathering major endorsements and strongly fighting back against Big Tobacco’s dishonest advertising.
Dental anesthesia bill heads to governor
A bill (AB 2235) requiring the Dental Board of California to review the safety of pediatric dental anesthesia has been passed by the Legislature and is now headed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk. The legislation stems from last year’s tragic death of a boy who received dental treatment under general anesthesia.
Preliminary list of participating Covered California dental plans released
Covered California, California's health insurance marketplace for the federal Affordable Care Act, has released some of the participating dental plans for the 2017 benefit year. Covered California's open enrollment period for 2017 coverage begins on Nov. 1 and ends Jan. 31, 2017.
New balance billing legislation addresses CDA concerns
AB 72 furthers consumer protections while also making it easier for physicians to resolve reimbursement problems with insurers. Under this bill, out-of-network physicians providing treatment at an in-network hospital or clinic must receive a patient’s voluntary consent to be treated for out-of-network care at least one day before the treatment.
UCSF dental students to volunteer at CDA Cares Stockton
Soon after the last classes let out at the University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry on Friday, Oct. 14, 76 dental school students will board a bus for the 90-minute ride to Stockton, for the CDA Cares event.
Prop. 56 campaign mobilizing grassroots supporters
CDA is gearing up for the Yes on 56 campaign to raise California’s tobacco tax and is distributing promotional campaign materials to local component dental societies, dental schools, specialty groups and ethnic societies.
Expand dental practice through telehealth
Dentists interested in learning how to provide telehealth dental care can attend a lecture and workshop presented by Paul Glassman, DDS, MBA, at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in San Francisco Sept. 8-10.
Local Dental Pilot Project application deadline nears
The deadline to apply for Local Dental Pilot Project funding under Domain 4 of the Dental Transformation Initiative has been extended to Sept. 30 as a result of a delay in the development of a budget template for the application. The California Department of Health Care Services opened its application cycle for LDPP proposals developed under the Medi-Cal 2020 Waiver June 1.
$3.2 million for children's oral health approved
The 2016-17 budget, totaling $167 billion, was recently signed by Gov. Brown and includes $3.2 million for the restoration of the California Children’s Dental Disease Prevention Program, a school-based prevention program managed at the local level by local health departments, county superintendents and other contracted entities.
New bill opens student loan repayment funds
A CDA-sponsored bill aims to make it easier for dental school graduates to access funds available in the state’s Dental Corps Loan Repayment Program and recently earned unanimous approval from the state Assembly.
Tobacco tax 'official' as Prop 56
The secretary of state officially validated the tobacco tax measure for the November ballot on June 30 and announced that it will be Proposition 56. This is the result of efforts by the Save Lives California coalition, a partnership of health care and other organizations including CDA, which worked to get this life-saving initiative on the Nov. 8 statewide ballot.
The state Assembly has unanimously approved legislation that begins to address administrative problems in the Denti-Cal program recently highlighted in a scathing report by California’s Little Hoover Commission (LHC), an independent state oversight agency.
CDA-supported bill protects practices in disability lawsuits
Recently passed legislation provides some extra protection for small businesses against claims of disabled access violations. Effective May 10, 2016, SB 269 allows small businesses a 15-day period to correct certain technical violations of disabled access design requirements.
Local Dental Pilot Project application process opens
The California Department of Health Care Services has opened its application cycle for proposals for Local Dental Pilot Projects (LDPP) being developed under the Medi-Cal 2020 Waiver.
Billing medical plans for dental treatment
There is an ongoing trend within health care toward integration and consolidation of health care delivery systems. This trend is reflected in provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act, such as the envisioned coordination of care provided under a single entity, the “Accountable Care Organization.”
Tobacco tax initiative reaches signature goal
The Save Lives California coalition, a coalition of health care organizations including CDA, continues to move forward with a ballot measure campaign to raise the state's tobacco tax by $2 per pack. The campaign recently submitted more than enough signatures to qualify a life-saving tobacco tax initiative for the Nov. 8, 2016, statewide ballot.
Lawmakers: Oral health must be priority
Assembly and Senate Republican leaders called on Gov. Jerry Brown to make additional funding for Denti-Cal a priority in this year's state budget. The legislative leaders have put forward a plan to increase funding for Denti-Cal "in a meaningful and responsible way." Specifically, they are pursuing a commitment of an additional $200 million, which will also pull down federal matching funds.
CDC finds e-cigarettes most-used tobacco product among youth
Sixteen percent of high school and 5.3 percent of middle school students were current users of e-cigarettes in 2015, making e-cigarettes the most commonly used tobacco product among youth for the second consecutive year, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Deadline near for tobacco tax signatures
Dentists interested in signing petitions to qualify a ballot measure to increase the state's tobacco tax by $2 should contact their local components right away. CDA delivered petition forms to all local components, and those signatures must be returned to CDA by April 15.
E-cigarette research grants awarded
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research has awarded more than $2 million in first-year funding to seven research grants centered on studying the effects of electronic cigarettes on oral and craniofacial tissues. The timing of the awards is critical as research shows an increasing number of high school students, approximately 13.4 percent, are now using e-cigarettes.
Legislative deal prevents loss of dental funding
The state Legislature and governor recently agreed to a deal, supported by CDA, that will preserve $1.3 billion in federal funding for Medi-Cal. The agreement reforms the state’s managed care organization (MCO) tax to comply with federal requirements that the tax apply to all managed care health plans, not just those that serve Medi-Cal patients, in order to preserve the federal matching money the tax brings to the state.
Tobacco tax signatures needed; deadline approaching
CDA and the Save Lives California coalition urge dentists across the state to sign petitions to qualify a ballot measure to increase the state's tax on tobacco products by $2. The campaign now has one month remaining to collect signatures.
CDA praises historic votes to strengthen tobacco laws
CDA applauds action by the state Assembly, which approved a package of six bills that will strengthen tobacco regulations, prevent cancer and save lives. Supported by CDA and the Save Lives California coalition, the bills increase the legal smoking age in California from 18 to 21 and regulate e-cigarettes by treating them as tobacco products.
CDA urges members to sign tobacco tax petition
CDA and the Save Lives California coalition are encouraging dentists across the state to take action by signing a petition to make sure the ballot measure to increase the state’s tax on tobacco products by $2 per pack qualifies for the November ballot. CDA has delivered petition forms to all local components to help collect signatures. Every signature that CDA members can collect saves vital campaign resources that the coalition will need to counter the tobacco industry.
Covered California dental enrollment exceeds 140,000
Enrollment in the family dental benefit plan product offered through Covered California, California’s health benefit marketplace created by the federal Affordable Care Act, now exceeds 144,000 enrollees according to Covered California representatives. Here is what dentists need to know.
Legislation provides increased research, education funding
Recent legislation signed into law significantly increases funding for dental research, education and related matters.  The legislation also provides tax code changes that will help dentists, employers and health care consumers, and will effectively address a number of critical public health issues relating to oral and overall health.
Significant investment in state dental program
At the end of 2015, the state of California and the federal government reached an unprecedented agreement that will make an additional $740 million investment in California’s Denti-Cal program over the next five years. California has often made changes to its contract with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which governs the operation of the Medicaid program (Medi-Cal in California), with the goal to increase flexibility and funding for the medical services covered by the program.
Save Lives gathers signatures, raises funds
CDA and the Save Lives California coalition have launched the signature-gathering phase of a ballot measure campaign to increase the state's tax on tobacco products by $2 per pack. The coalition will have until April 26 to collect the required amount of signatures to qualify the "California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Act of 2016" for the November ballot and the campaign has a comprehensive program to ensure enough signatures are collected. CDA will be reaching out to components and grassroots leaders to provide members with an opportunity to sign the petitions to help qualify the measure.
CDA supports, protects dentistry in 2015
CDA is helping member dentists meet today's challenges of practicing the way they want, providing excellent care to their patients and giving back to their communities. Here are highlights of those achievements in 2015.
Field Poll shows support for taxing e-cigarettes
Recent Field Poll results released in November showed strong support for taxing and regulating electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), a key component of the 2016 ballot measure submitted by the Save Lives California coalition, of which CDA is a member, that will prevent smoking. Almost three in four California voters (74 percent) favor taxing e-cigarettes and vaping products. A sizeable majority of Californians correctly views e-cigarettes as a danger to public health and 71 percent believe that e-cigarettes contribute to teens becoming addicted to tobacco.
Adult dental now available through Covered California
Covered California, California’s health insurance marketplace for the federal Affordable Care Act, is now offering family dental plans to purchase for the 2016 benefit year. The standalone family dental plans are available in addition to the children’s dental coverage included as an essential health benefit for consumers younger than 19 years old.
What dentists should know about the Virtual Dental Home
In recent months, several policyholders have called the TDIC Advice line asking about the virtual dental home (VDH) model and the risks associated with participating in one. The following information may be helpful for dentists who are considering practicing in such a model. The term “virtual dental home” describes a dental care model in which a dentist utilizes teledentistry by connecting electronically to specially trained allied dental team members to deliver dental care to underserved populations.
Coalition, CDA move forward with tobacco tax initiative
The Save Lives California coalition, which CDA is part of, has filed its final version of a ballot measure for the November 2016 election to raise the state’s tobacco tax by $2 per pack. The coalition had committed to pursuing a ballot measure if the Legislature was unable to pass legislation this summer, and with no legislative action at the end of this year’s session, the coalition is moving ahead with a ballot measure campaign.
CDA blocks legislation by insurance plans
In the Legislature’s final week of its 2015 session, CDA successfully blocked problematic legislation backed by insurance plans that would have placed an unfair burden on dentists and delayed access to care for patients. After an intensive lobbying effort in the Capitol by multiple provider groups and through grassroots contact by CDA members with legislators in the final days of the session, the bill failed to pass in a vote of the full state Assembly.
CDA urges members to sign tobacco tax petition
CDA and the Save Lives California coalition are encouraging supporters to sign an online petition urging the state Legislature to raise the state's tobacco tax and have launched a statewide digital advertising campaign to mobilize support for the effort.
CDA, anti-tobacco coalition gear up for special session
The Save Lives California coalition that CDA is a member of continues to move forward in its efforts to fight tobacco use during this year’s special legislative session on health care. The special session will resume when the Legislature returns from its summer recess on Aug. 17 and will include consideration of the coalition’s proposal to increase the state’s tobacco tax by $2 per pack, which would provide additional funding for the Medi-Cal program as well as smoking prevention and education programs.
State dental director to tackle oral health challenges
Jayanth V. Kumar, DDS, MPH, will begin serving as California's new state dental director on Aug. 1. Kumar will direct and manage the oral health program in the California Department of Public Health. He recently took time to speak to CDA Update staff about his new role and some of his objectives.
First UCSF student completes licensure by portfolio
The first student to complete the licensure by portfolio process at the UCSF School of Dentistry has graduated. Jose Molina, DDS, who is now practicing as an associate dentist in Fresno, chose to obtain his licensure through this process because he felt it was a more “complete assessment” of his competency as a dentist. He also appreciated the fact that he was able to work on his own patients, providing follow-up care as needed.
MICRA provision upheld by courts
A recent court ruling has upheld a provision of the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) that protects dentists and other health care providers from frivolous lawsuits. The decision is consistent with other court rulings that have struck down challenges to MICRA, which ensures injured patients receive fair compensation and stabilizes liability costs.
CDA joins coalition to offset costs of smoking and save lives
CDA has joined Save Lives California, a coalition of groups seeking to save thousands of lives by raising California’s cigarette tax. “Dentists have long stood as an important line of defense not just for our patients’ oral health, but also their overall health,” said CDA President Walt Weber, DDS.
CDA pleased by state reversal of Denti-Cal cuts
The state's reversal of the 10 percent rate cuts for Denti-Cal providers, which have been in effect since 2013, is a positive first step in ensuring access to care for the program's beneficiaries. Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders made an announcement of a budget deal that will allow the rate changes to take effect July 1 pending federal approval.
CDA's concerns shape hygiene association bill
CDA's opposition to a problematic provision in a California Dental Hygienists' Association-sponsored bill led to its removal, facilitating CDA's support position on the bill as it makes its way into the final stages of the legislative process.
First dental students complete licensure by portfolio
The first two dental students in the country have now completed the licensure by portfolio process. The University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry students, Daniel Feldman and Dan Beroukhim, accomplished this by building a portfolio of completed clinical experiences and clinical competency examinations in six subject areas over the normal course of their clinical training. Calibrated UOP faculty evaluated the examinations.
Governor announces California state dental director
Gov. Jerry Brown today announced that Jayanth V. Kumar, DDS, MPH, will serve as California's new state dental director. For years, CDA has advocated for a state dental director — the establishment of this position is a major achievement for the state's oral health program and access to care planning goals.
Virtual dental home grant bill passes Assembly
CDA co-sponsored legislation that would provide key funding for the virtual dental home (VDH) model of dental care has passed unanimously on the Assembly floor. AB 648, authored by Assemblyman Evan Low (D-San Jose), would create a grant program under the direction of the state dental director to expand the VDH model into the state’s areas of greatest need. Public and private funds would be used for training, equipment, technical assistance and other support for VDH implementation. The bill passed in the Assembly Health Committee on a 79-0 vote.
Dental board proposal includes new license fee cap
The Dental Board of California is proposing an increase in the cap on dental licensure fees, along with cap increases for most other fees, as part of its sunset review. The proposed cap for initial and biennial renewal fees, recently approved by a legislative committee as a part of AB 179 (Dental Board Sunset Review), would increase to $650 as of Jan. 1, 2016, and rise to $800 in 2018.
CDA opposes drug database bill
CDA and a coalition of more than 600 organizations helped defeat Proposition 46 in last year’s election, but a piece of the ballot measure has reappeared in the form of a new bill. CDA-opposed SB 482, authored by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), revisits a provision included in Proposition 46 last year dealing with the state’s Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System  (CURES) online prescription drug database.
CDA-supported tobacco tax ballot measure filed
The Save Lives California coalition, of which CDA is a member, filed two ballot measures for the November 2016 ballot that would increase the tax on cigarettes by $2 per pack and allocate the estimated $1.5 billion in additional revenue for smoking prevention and smoking-related costs incurred by the state’s Medi-Cal program. One version is for standard cigarettes, and the other would extend the tax to electronic cigarettes if the state follows through with a current proposal to label them as tobacco products.
CDA urges response to governor's silence on Denti-Cal
CDA is disappointed that the May revision to the 2015-16 state budget released by Gov. Jerry Brown is silent on the statewide crisis in access to dental care and is urging the administration and Legislature to take action in their upcoming budget negotiations.
CDA-supported tobacco tax bills move forward
Two CDA-supported bills that together would increase the tax on cigarettes and allocate the funds for various programs throughout California passed out of their respective committee hearings in the Senate and Assembly. SB 591 by Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), which would increase the tax on cigarettes by $2 per pack, passed the Senate Health Committee and AB 1396 by Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), which would allocate the revenues generated by SB 591, passed out of the Assembly Health Committee.
CDA supports legislative efforts for soda fee
CDA is co-sponsoring a new legislative effort that would enact a statewide fee on sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda. AB 1357, authored by Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), would establish a 2 cent per ounce health impact fee on sugar-sweetened beverages at the distributor level. More than half of the estimated $3 billion in revenue raised by AB 1357 would be allocated to the Department of Public Health for various purposes and specifically include oral health programs.
CDA Cares a temporary fix for broken Denti-Cal program
The length of the lines at each of the seven CDA Cares clinics held throughout the state since 2012 demonstrate how Denti-Cal fails to provide access to care. CDA Cares Sacramento was another prime example as many of the patients had no other choice to relieve the pain they were in other than lining up early in the morning at Cal Expo.
CDA-supported anti-tobacco bills advance
Several CDA-supported bills that would help further the effort to fight tobacco use passed out of their first legislative committee hearings. All forms of tobacco contain high concentrations of cancer-causing agents, and these substances subject users to increased cancer risk not only of the oral cavity, but also the pharynx, larynx and esophagus.
Key provision of CDA-opposed scope bill rejected
Legislation sponsored by the California Dental Hygienists’ Association (CDHA) that would eliminate an important safeguard for patients served by registered dental hygienists in alternative practice (RDHAPs) was substantially amended by a legislative committee in April to address problematic provisions opposed by CDA.
Dentist and RDHAP team up to deliver care
With many adults challenged to access oral health services, some dentists and registered dental hygienists in alternative practice (RDHAPs) team up to try to fill the gap. Two such dental professionals have been working together in Humboldt County for nearly 20 years. Darla Dale, RDHAP, and Wilmer Hechanova, DDS, met in 1996 at a class on hospital-based dentistry.
CDA co-sponsored legislation passes Assembly committee
CDA co-sponsored legislation that would provide key funding for the virtual dental home (VDH) model of dental care passed unanimously in its first Assembly committee hearing. AB 648, authored by Assemblyman Evan Low (D-San Jose), would create a grant program under the direction of the state dental director to expand the VDH model into the state’s areas of greatest need. Public and private funds would be used for training, equipment, technical assistance and other support for VDH implementation.
CDA disappointed with Supreme Court Medicaid ruling
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that providers cannot sue states or state officials in an effort to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates. In a 5-to-4 decision, justices indicated that complaints about low reimbursement rates should instead be filed with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency that oversees the Medicaid program.
Video: Woman sees smile for first time in 20 years
Carolyn had been missing most of her teeth for more than 20 years. With no molars, eating was difficult and she had to rotate which side of her mouth she chewed food on based on pain level. Instead of depending on the state’s broken Denti-Cal system, Carolyn drove to CDA Cares in Sacramento after seeing the event on the news. It wasn’t long before she had a new set of dentures and restored self-esteem.
The Assembly and Senate Committees on Business and Professions recently held a “sunset review” hearing for a variety of professional licensing boards, including the Dental Board of California. At the hearing, CDA acknowledged the board’s recent fee audit and, given recent increases in licensure renewal fees, urged the board to establish a structurally sound budget and a clear and evidenced-based process for future licensure fee increases.
CDA Cares Sacramento provides $2 million in care
Hosted by the California Dental Association Foundation and CDA, the CDA Cares two-day dental clinic in Sacramento provided $2 million in charitable dental services to 2,080 people March 27-28. While the final number of procedures provided at CDA Cares is being tallied, preliminary estimates indicate nearly 2,700 tooth extractions were necessary.
CDA wins tentative ruling in Delta Dental case
The San Francisco Superior Court judge presiding over the CDA v. Delta Dental case issued her tentative ruling at a March 18 hearing denying Delta Dental's motions attempting to have the case dismissed. While her rulings in open court are currently tentative, the judge stated that she would issue a final order soon and it would be consistent with these tentative rulings. This is positive news for CDA and CDA member Premier dentists, however, there is still a long way to go in the litigation.
CDA's calls to fix Denti-Cal are heard
CDA's advocacy urging the state to fix the broken Denti-Cal program has captured the attention of lawmakers who expressed outrage in two legislative hearings about the program's failure to provide access to care due to glaring oversight issues and extremely low reimbursement rates. CDA members testified at two joint oversight hearings of the Senate Health Committee, Assembly Health Committee and the Joint Legislative Audit Committees in March.
In preparation for its Sunset Review this year, the Dental Board of California initiated a fee audit in December that examined, in detail, how much of the board's budget is spent on each board function - something that CDA strongly advocated for during discussions with the board on recent dental licensure fee increases. The completed audit revealed that the board spends significantly more on enforcement than for all other functions, predicts the board will run a $4.3 million deficit this fiscal year.
Legislation aims to promote telehealth care
After being signed into law in 2014, the virtual dental home (VDH) model of dental care would receive key funding through a recently introduced piece of legislation. AB 648, co-sponsored by CDA and authored by Assemblyman Evan Low (D-San Jose), would authorize a one-time, $4 million general fund appropriation to establish a VDH grant program. This program would fall under the leadership and direction of the state dental director for the purpose of expanding the VDH into the state’s areas of greatest need.
New legislation sponsored by the California Dental Hygienists’ Association (CDHA) would make a number of changes pertaining to registered dental hygienists in alternative practice (RDHAPs). Among the proposed changes in AB 502, authored by Assemblyman Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park), is eliminating the current requirement for RDHAPs to obtain a dentist’s prescription in order to continue providing services to patients after 18 months.
CDA supports removing tobacco from baseball stadiums
CDA is supporting new legislation that would remove tobacco from baseball stadiums in California and increase the tax on cigarettes. According to the FDA, tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease, disability and death in the United States, responsible for more than 480,000 deaths each year.
CDA evaluates Supreme Court dental board ruling
CDA is currently evaluating what impact, if any, a recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court could have for dental boards across the country, including California. The case involves the Federal Trade Commission and the North Carolina Dental Board, which issued cease and desist orders against nondentist teeth whitening service providers and product manufacturers, claiming that teeth whitening constitutes the practice of dentistry. In 2010, the FTC filed an administrative complaint claiming the board engaged in anticompetitive behavior.
CDA continues legal challenge against Delta
In a Superior Court hearing scheduled for late March in San Francisco, CDA will counter motions made by Delta Dental regarding CDA’s legal action filed last year. During the hearing, which was postponed from January, a judge is expected to hear arguments on two Delta motions — one to dismiss the case and the other challenging CDA’s standing as an association to represent the interests of its members in court.
California Supreme Court decision preserves MICRA cap
Last week, the California Supreme Court sent a clear message that it will not be accepting arguments on the constitutionality of MICRA’s non-economic damages cap at this time. This is very good news for CDA and other members of a statewide coalition that played a significant role in the November defeat of Proposition 46, an attempt to significantly increase the $250,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits.
Coalition proposes Medi-Cal rate increase legislation
CDA continues to work with other health care organizations to address the worsening access crisis for Medi-Cal patients and the extremely low provider reimbursement rates in the Medi-Cal program. New legislation introduced last week would not only reverse the 10 percent reimbursement rate cut the state began implementing in 2013, but also raise Medi-Cal reimbursement rates to the equivalent of what the federal Medicare program pays.
CDA member begins tenure as Assembly member
Jim Wood, DDS, a general dentist in Cloverdale since 1987, is settling into office after winning the 2nd Assembly District seat in last November’s election. Wood now serves as the only dentist in the California Legislature and in addition to representing the residents in his district, which covers all or part of Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, Trinity and Sonoma counties, he plans to advocate for the profession. CDA Update staff recently spoke to Wood about how his new role in the Legislature is going and what he plans to focus on moving forward.
CDA Cares spotlights state oral health needs
The CDA Foundation is hosting a CDA Cares volunteer dental event in Sacramento next month, and the timing of the March 27-28 clinic couldn’t be better. The recent swearing-in of a large group of new state legislators will provide CDA with an opportunity to educate policymakers about the importance of oral health and the need for an adequately funded dental safety net in California.
Learn how to implement telehealth dental care
Dentists interested in expanding the ways in which they provide services to patients outside of their practice can attend a lecture about telehealth-connected teams at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry April 30-May 2. Led by Paul Glassman, DDS, MBA, the lecture, titled “Expanding Dental Practices Using Telehealth-Connected Teams and Virtual Dental Homes,” will delve into the options dentists will have in the near future to make a greater impact in their communities.
FDA approves new hydrocodone drug
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a hydrocodone drug known as Hysingla ER that has properties expected to reduce, but not totally prevent, abuse of the drug. Dentists should be aware that their patients might ask about the drug, which is not approved for, and should not be used for, as-needed pain relief. Taking too much Hysingla ER, whether by intentional abuse or by accident, can cause an overdose that may result in death.
Handling emergency Schedule II prescriptions
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.
Second year of ACA implementation underway
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.
New licensure by portfolio set to be implemented
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.
CDA advocacy program has banner year for members
CDA’s advocacy program achieved critical victories on behalf of dentists during the 2014 election and legislative session. Issues ranging from malpractice protection to protecting dental patient premium dollars were addressed through advocacy efforts at the Capitol and across the state.
CDA student delegates; strong voice for profession
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.
CDA Cares Pomona provides $1.66 million in care
The California Dental Association Foundation’s two-day dental clinic, CDA Cares, provided $1.66 million in charitable dental services to 1,861 people during the Nov. 21-22 event in Pomona. During the two-day charity event, dentists and dental professionals provided fillings, extractions, cleanings and oral health education. Additionally, volunteer technicians in the dental lab area worked to provide 345 full and partial dentures and repairs.
CDA member elected to State Assembly
Jim Wood, DDS, a general dentist from Healdsburg and CDA member since 1983, was elected to the California State Assembly in a landslide victory on Nov. 4. Wood, a Democrat, earned 63.8 percent of the vote in the 2nd Assembly District, compared to 36.2 percent for Republican opponent Matthew Heath.
CDA members help defeat Proposition 46

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.

CDA urges "No" vote on Proposition 46
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.
State recruits for new dental director position
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has formally announced its search for a state dental director, posting the job description on its website. The recruitment for a state dental director comes more than 15 years after the post went unfilled due to a lack of funding and focus, and is a major achievement for the state’s oral health program and access to care planning goals.
Covered California changes dental benefits
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.
Provider reimbursement cuts announced by Anthem
CDA has learned that Anthem Blue Cross has sent notices to more than 7,000 California dentists in various geographical areas announcing a “fee adjustment” in a number of regions. This “adjustment” appears to be scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, 2015. Anthem is making other amendments to the Anthem Participating Dentist agreements as well, which apparently will be summarized on a CD to be enclosed with the notice.
Hydrocodone schedule change now in effect
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.
Vote against threat to malpractice protection
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.
Governor signs CDA-sponsored bill protecting patient premiums
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.
Hydrocodone reclassification set for Oct. 6
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.
Legislature approves CDA-sponsored bill protecting patient premiums
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: The threat to malpractice protection
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.
Nov. 4 vote will impact your practice
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."
CDA Cares has statewide impact as Pomona clinic nears
CDA and the CDA Foundation are gearing up for the second CDA Cares clinic to be held in Southern California. CDA Cares Pomona will take place Nov. 21-22 at the Pomona Fairplex, and volunteers are urged to get involved. In addition to providing care at no charge to approximately 2,000 patients at each clinic, CDA Cares aims to educate the public, media and policymakers about the importance of good oral health and the need to find long-term solutions, such as an adequately funded dental safety net.
Covered California continues work to implement dental benefit
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.
Arbitrators rule against Delta Dental's most recent motion
In August 2013, CDA and several individual dentists filed a legal action against Delta Dental challenging, in part, its attempt to change Premier provider agreements. In response to this action, Delta filed a motion to dismiss the entire matter. After considering the motion, the arbitrators rejected Delta Dental's recent motion to dismiss the entire action, and found that there was sufficient evidence to allow the individual dentists to proceed on their claims that Delta's attempt to change key provisions of its participating dentist agreements violated the legal doctrine of "good faith and fair dealing." The decision will allow the arbitration to proceed.
No on 46 campaign gains momentum, allies
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.
CDA updates members on recent legislative issues
CDA has been engaged on multiple legislative issues at the state Capitol in Sacramento. Here are a few of the recent issues CDA worked on before the Legislature adjourned for a one month recess. It will reconvene Aug. 4 for work on bills before final adjournment at the end of the month.
With passing of Tony Gwynn, CDA shares oral cancer resources
With the passing of Major League Baseball great Tony Gwynn from mouth cancer, CDA reminds dentists that there are many resources available to help their patients stop using tobacco and smokeless tobacco products. Though Gwynn's mouth cancer was never medically linked to the use of smokeless tobacco, he believed it was related to his cancer diagnosis. Experience shows that an oral cancer lesion, which often grows slowly and may be painless, can easily be overlooked by a patient who has "had this spot forever."
Dental licensure fees rising
Dental licensure fees are on the rise as the Dental Board of California struggles with rising costs that have led to a significant budget deficit. An increase in initial licensure and biennial renewal fees from $365 to $450 took effect July 1, the current maximum allowed under law, which the Dental Board approved last fall. However, the board still projects a deficit even with the increase to $450. Consequently, the board sponsored SB 1416 (Block) this year, which was signed into law last month and raises the fee to $525 effective Jan. 1, 2015 - the amount the Department of Consumer Affairs has determined the board needs to remain financially solvent.
History repeats itself in MICRA malpractice fight
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.
CDA learned in late May that Delta Dental of California began distributing a new Participating Provider Agreement (Commercial Fee-for-Service) to newly contracting California providers. For those newly contracting providers, this new agreement appears to be an all-inclusive provider agreement for both the Delta Dental Premier and PPO products. CDA understands that Delta Dental will no longer offer separate Premier and PPO provider agreements to newly contracting dentists. Along with the new Provider Agreement, newly contracting dentists will receive the Delta Dental Premier Addendum.
State dental director significant win for oral health
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.
Update on health reform program implementation
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.
CDA member Jim Wood wins Assembly primary race
Jim Wood, DDS, a general dentist from Healdsburg and CDA member since 1983, earned a convincing first place finish in the June 3 primary election in his bid for State Assembly. Wood, a Democrat, is seeking to represent the 2nd Assembly District, which covers all or part of Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, Trinity and Sonoma counties.
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.