Legislation

CDA has a dedicated team of professionals whose purpose is to advocate for the profession, including sponsoring legislation at the Capitol that addresses important issues related to dental benefits.

ADA files complaint with Federal Trade Commission against SmileDirectClub
08/20/2019
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.
Support consumer protections for direct-to-consumer orthodontia — contact your legislator
08/16/2019
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.
CDA advocates to preserve in-office patient financing through legislation
06/12/2019
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
05/28/2019
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
04/30/2019
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.
Network leasing bill gains traction, adds protection for dentists, patients
04/16/2019
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
04/03/2019
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.
CDA bill makes silver diamine fluoride a covered Medi-Cal benefit
03/19/2019
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.
Prescribers can use existing controlled-substance Rx forms until January 2021
03/05/2019
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
02/20/2019
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.
Forensic odontologists help identify victims of disaster, crime
01/14/2019
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.
Clarification on new infection control requirement for dental pulp procedures
12/11/2018
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
11/28/2018
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
10/31/2018
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.
Dental hygiene regulatory entity becomes board in 2018 sunset review
10/15/2018
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
10/08/2018

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.

Legislation, report highlight need for dental plan transparency
09/04/2018
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, CMA file statewide soda tax measure for 2020
07/02/2018
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.
Bill to increase dental plan transparency clears Senate with bipartisan support
06/18/2018
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.
CDA-supported bills modify opioid prescribing, CURES requirements
06/07/2018
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.
Bill that would regulate provider rates won't advance in 2018
06/05/2018
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.
Silver diamine fluoride bill passes through first Senate committee hearing
05/23/2018
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.
Legislation, CDA Presents lecture, address prescription opioid abuse and CURES
04/16/2018
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
04/12/2018
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.
CDA, CSPD, sponsor bill to expand health plan coverage for dental anesthesia
04/09/2018
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
04/04/2018
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 legislation calls for more value, transparency, from dental plans
03/21/2018
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.
CHIP funding extension protects health coverage for millions in California
02/05/2018
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
01/17/2018
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.
Stakes high for California without renewed CHIP funding
12/11/2017
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.
Protect dental coverage for millions: Urge your representatives to extend CHIP funding
11/27/2017
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.
New benefits for Denti-Cal adults in 2018
11/02/2017
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
10/24/2017
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
10/23/2017
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.
Discussion on pediatric dental anesthesia legislation to continue in 2018
09/27/2017
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
09/25/2017
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.
$30M annual boost to state oral health program
09/04/2017
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
08/21/2017
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.
CDA-supported pediatric anesthesia bill moves forward
08/15/2017
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
08/14/2017
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.
State could face $30B in new costs under BCRA
07/17/2017
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
07/07/2017
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.
CDA engages policymakers as ACA reform efforts continue
06/21/2017
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.
State budget more closely honors will of Prop. 56 voters
06/16/2017
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.
Action alert: Oppose swipe of dental funds
05/17/2017
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 www.protectmedi-cal.org and submitting a petition to state legislative leaders, who will make final budget decisions very soon.
Pediatric anesthesia legislation advances
05/15/2017
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
05/03/2017
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
05/02/2017
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.
Dental students become advocates at state Capitol
04/26/2017
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.
CDA sponsors bill to improve quality of oral health data
04/17/2017
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.
New life for Kindergarten Oral Health Requirement
03/03/2017
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.
Updated anesthesia consent form required
02/22/2017
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.
CURES 1.0 not available after March 5
02/08/2017
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
02/01/2017
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.
Covered California embedded children's dental plans released
11/10/2016
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
11/09/2016
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
11/01/2016
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.
Advertising on Groupon allowed under new law
10/19/2016
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
10/18/2016
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.
Gov. Brown signs CDA-sponsored loan repayment bill
10/06/2016
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.
Prop. 56 campaign blasts Big Tobacco
09/19/2016
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
09/16/2016
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
09/15/2016
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
09/05/2016
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.
Prop. 56 campaign mobilizing grassroots supporters
08/25/2016
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
08/02/2016
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.
$3.2 million for children's oral health approved
07/28/2016
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
07/11/2016
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
07/07/2016
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.
06/22/2016
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
06/20/2016
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.
Billing medical plans for dental treatment
05/25/2016
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
05/17/2016
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
05/11/2016
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.
Deadline near for tobacco tax signatures
04/05/2016
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
03/25/2016
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
03/18/2016
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
03/11/2016
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
03/03/2016
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
02/16/2016
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
02/15/2016
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.
Significant investment in state dental program
01/25/2016
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
01/05/2016
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.
Field Poll shows support for taxing e-cigarettes
11/16/2015
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
11/10/2015
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
10/28/2015
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
10/14/2015
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
09/18/2015
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
09/03/2015
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
08/07/2015
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.
MICRA provision upheld by courts
07/09/2015
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
06/22/2015
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
06/16/2015
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
06/12/2015
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.
Virtual dental home grant bill passes Assembly
06/02/2015
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
05/28/2015
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
05/26/2015
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
05/15/2015
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-supported tobacco tax bills move forward
05/05/2015
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
05/04/2015
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-supported anti-tobacco bills advance
04/21/2015
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
04/20/2015
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.
CDA co-sponsored legislation passes Assembly committee
04/14/2015
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
04/06/2015
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.
04/03/2015
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.
03/20/2015
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
03/19/2015
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.
03/10/2015
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
03/09/2015
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
03/05/2015
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
02/23/2015
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
02/20/2015
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
02/20/2015
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
02/13/2015
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.
FDA approves new hydrocodone drug
01/26/2015
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
01/12/2015
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
01/07/2015
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.
12/15/2014
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
12/12/2014
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.
12/11/2014
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 student delegates; strong voice for profession
11/26/2014
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 members help defeat Proposition 46
11/05/2014

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
10/28/2014
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.
Covered California changes dental benefits
10/17/2014
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.
Hydrocodone schedule change now in effect
10/08/2014
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
10/07/2014
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
09/25/2014
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
09/23/2014
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
09/09/2014
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
09/08/2014
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.
09/02/2014
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
08/26/2014
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).
08/15/2014
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."
Covered California continues work to implement dental benefit
07/28/2014
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.
No on 46 campaign gains momentum, allies
07/15/2014
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.
With passing of Tony Gwynn, CDA shares oral cancer resources
07/03/2014
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
07/01/2014
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
06/17/2014
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.
State dental director significant win for oral health
06/15/2014
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
06/13/2014
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.
06/03/2014
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.
05/16/2014

CDA and a coalition of health care organizations are gearing up to defeat a November ballot initiative that would raise a malpractice cap on non-economic damages, resulting in devastating effects on California’s health care system.

Proposed ban on CT self-referrals stalls
05/06/2014
Legislation that could have significantly limited the use of cone-beam radiographic equipment in dental offices failed to advance on April 28 at a hearing of the Senate Business and Professions Committee. Current state law prohibits health care providers from “self-referring” patients to themselves for diagnostic procedures such as laboratory tests and radiographs, but specifically exempts procedures ordered and performed in a provider’s own office. SB 1215, authored by Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), would have eliminated this in-office exemption for “advanced imaging.”
CDA-sponsored bill targets low-value dental plans
04/22/2014
CDA-sponsored legislation to require dental plans to adhere to the same administrative cost limitations as medical plans took a major step forward April 8. AB 1962 passed the Assembly Health Committee on a 15-3 vote over strong opposition from the dental plan industry. AB 1962 would remove the dental plan exemption from state law that requires health plans to allocate a minimum of 80 percent of their premium revenue to actual patient care.
Raising malpractice cap likely headed for ballot
04/08/2014
CDA and a coalition of health care organizations are ready to fight a ballot measure over California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA), which now appears inevitable after trial lawyers submitted more than 800,000 signatures to qualify their anti-MICRA initiative for the November ballot.
State dental director included in governor's budget update
04/02/2014

The establishment of a state dental director position to provide leadership and direction for oral health care in California, a goal CDA has actively pursued for more than two years, will soon become a reality.

CDA, coalition ready for ballot fight; MICRA signatures submitted
03/25/2014

A ballot measure fight over California's Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) now appears inevitable after Consumer Watchdog (a trial lawyer front group) submitted more than 800,000 signatures to county elections officials Monday to qualify their anti-MICRA initiative for the November ballot. Slightly more than 500,000 valid signatures are needed for the measure to qualify. The signatures will be verified over the next several weeks.

03/24/2014

As the annual state budget process begins to unfold in the legislature, CDA is advocating on a variety of significant issues, ranging from funding a state dental director, improving Denti-Cal reimbursement rates and maintaining or restoring the state's public oral health program infrastructure. This year, CDA's top advocacy priority in the budget process is the establishment of a state dental director position within the Department of Public Health.

03/21/2014

With the receipt last month of final approval from the state Office of Administrative Law, initial and biennial dental licensure fees will be increasing for the first time since 1998, effective July 1, 2014. A group of ancillary fees that is linked by law to the biennial renewal fee will be increasing as well.

CDA supports recent anti-tobacco efforts by CVS Caremark
03/03/2014
CDA applauds the decision by CVS Caremark to discontinue the sale of tobacco products. For decades, CDA and other health organizations have been warning tobacco users of the dangers of these products and urging them to kick the habit. CVS recently announced that it will stop selling cigarettes and all tobacco products at its more than 7,600 stores nationwide by Oct. 1.
Covered California focuses on dental plan offerings for 2015
02/25/2014
Even with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) barely under way, Covered California, the agency charged with implementing the ACA in this state, devoted considerable time last month to planning for expanded dental benefit offerings for 2015. CDA has continued to push for making a variety of plan options available to all consumers, including adults, and the state is now moving in that direction, with many details still to be worked out.
Dentists need to know how MICRA protects the profession
02/24/2014
The Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975 protects dentists and other health care providers from frivolous lawsuits and outrageous malpractice rates that drove many practitioners out of the state. The law is now under attack by trial lawyers who are circulating petitions to force a November ballot initiative, in essence to allow bigger payouts to pad their pockets. CDA President James Stephens, DDS, outlines why dentists need to preserve MICRA and support the fight that CDA and other health care organizations are involved in this year.
02/20/2014
The California Dental Association is sponsoring a patient protection bill introduced by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, (D-Berkeley), to ensure that a minimum percentage of consumer premiums are actually spent on their dental care instead of insurance company overhead and administration costs.
CDA fights for dentists and patients at the Capitol
02/20/2014
With a new legislative session under way, CDA’s volunteer leaders and its Sacramento advocacy team are simultaneously on offense and defense on a wide range of legislative and regulatory issues impacting dentists and patients across the state. The issues range from dental insurance and malpractice reforms to state oral health policy leadership and regulation of dental hygienists.
FDA launches new anti-tobacco campaign for teens
02/11/2014
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched a new public awareness campaign around the dangers of tobacco use. The youth tobacco prevention campaign, “The Real Cost,” launched Feb. 11 and will run across multiple media platforms, including TV, radio, print and online for at least a year.
01/28/2014
There is still much uncertainty regarding the overall and long-term impacts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on the health and dental care delivery systems.  What we do know, however, is that the ACA will usher in access to dental care for many more children outside of the ACA-created online insurance marketplaces – including coverage through most private health insurance plans.
What dentists need to know about ACA
12/17/2013
As of Jan. 1, 2014, many of the major reforms created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are in place. While the law is lengthy and has many complicated provisions, there are four basic concepts implemented by the law: providing private and public health insurance reforms and patient protections; allowing states to expand Medicaid coverage; requiring U.S. citizens to have health insurance coverage or pay a penalty; and creating marketplaces for health and pediatric dental insurance coverage.
12/13/2013
In January, dentists receiving their biennial renewal statements from the Dental Board of California (DBC) will see an increase in the total fee from $365 to $377.
12/03/2013
CDA and partners in the coalition, Californians Allied for Patient Protection (CAPP), are preparing for a year-long battle to defeat an effort by trial attorneys to change a provision of a law that protects dentists and other health care providers from frivolous lawsuits.
CDA advises Covered California on health care implementation
11/20/2013
CDA is working with Covered California staff to identify additional training that needs to be provided to the enrollment specialists to help them better support families in accessing the dental benefits that are available to them. In addition, CDA is providing feedback to Covered California on the short-term, and perhaps longer-term, fixes that need to be made to the website to ensure that families who want to buy the dental coverage through the portal can do so efficiently.
New privacy laws go into effect with New Year
11/07/2013
Two new laws regarding data breach notification and information privacy go into effect with the New Year. The first, SB 46, expands the definition of “personal information” that triggers a data breach notification. The other, AB 370, requires disclosure of how a commercial website responds to “do not track” browser signals.
CDA keeps members informed on health care reform
10/29/2013
After a rocky first few days following its long-anticipated Oct. 1 opening for enrollment, Covered California, the state health insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has now reported some data on the number of consumers who have been able to access health insurance through the new marketplace.  CDA remains actively engaged in all of the ACA’s implementation details and can be a resource to members interested in finding out more about the new law and how it may impact dentists and dentistry.
Major health care reform milestone reached
10/02/2013
After months of intense preparation, Covered California, the health insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), began its open enrollment period on Oct. 1. Consumers can now begin the process of comparing and purchasing affordable medical and dental insurance coverage online, and Covered California is offering in-person and phone support for those who need it.
MICRA legislation fails to materialize
09/27/2013
The 2013 legislative session came to a close without the introduction of legislation backed by trial attorneys to raise the MICRA cap on non-economic damages. CDA and partners in the coalition, Californians Allied for Patient Protection (CAPP), actively worked to communicate to legislators the importance of maintaining current provisions of the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, which ensures injured patients receive fair compensation, while stabilizing liability costs.
09/20/2013
The ADA has announced the release of the first set of dental performance measures under the Dental Quality Alliance (DQA). The DQA, comprised of multiple stakeholders from across the oral health community, was created to establish a series of oral health care performance measures.
09/17/2013
As the 2013 legislative session drew to a close, CDA’s three sponsored bills were in different stages of completion. One has already been signed by the governor, a second is awaiting his signature and a third is expected to be moved in 2014.
ACA requires employee notification by October 1
09/10/2013
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) amended the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, creating a requirement that employers provide a notice to all employees of the existence of the newly formed insurance marketplace available to them along with information on how to contact the insurance marketplace to request assistance in purchasing coverage if the employee chooses to do so.
09/03/2013
CDA and partners in the coalition, Californians Allied for Patient Protection, are launching statewide efforts to fight an attempt by trial lawyers to make changes to the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA), which ensures injured patients receive fair compensation, while stabilizing liability costs. Trial lawyers have filed a ballot measure with the State Attorney General — the first step in a long and expensive process to qualify a measure for the ballot — which would change provisions of MICRA that protect dentists.
08/26/2013
The Dental Board of California has released for public comment its proposed regulations that would raise the initial licensure and biennial renewal fees for dentists from $365 to $450, the maximum currently allowable by state law.  The public has until Sept. 23 to provide written comment (or in-person comment at a public testimony-only hearing to be held on that date in Sacramento).
08/22/2013
Many dental practices, because of their small size, may not be required to provide FMLA benefits to employees. However, risk management analysts at The Dentists Insurance Company advise dentists to address any request for a leave of absence with caution. There may be other laws that do apply to employee leave, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act or workers’ compensation.
08/20/2013
With the legislature entering the final month of its 2013 session, CDA was an active participant in negotiations with the governor’s office, the legislature, and a variety of business, legal and consumer stakeholders in an attempt to improve the state’s Proposition 65 warning notice and litigation laws. Prop. 65 requires businesses with 10 or more employees to provide “clear and reasonable warning” if the product or business location may expose employees or consumers to a chemical known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.
08/13/2013
California’s Health Benefit Exchange Board, which is tasked with implementing the federal Affordable Care Act in California, held a special meeting on Aug. 8 to focus primarily on issues surrounding the implementation of the pediatric dental Essential Health Benefit. The board upheld its decision to allow only stand-alone dental plans and ruled that it was too close to the date of open enrollment (Oct. 1, 2013) to allow traditional health plans to submit new bids including the pediatric dental benefit at this time. CDA strongly supported the Exchange’s decision to allow stand-alone dental plans.
CDA gears up for MICRA fight
07/24/2013
The law protecting dentists, physicians and other health care providers from frivolous lawsuits is under attack again, and this time trial lawyers threaten to take the issue to voters next year if the Legislature does not make changes to the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) before the end of the summer legislative session. Legislation has not surfaced yet, but CDA and other partners in the coalition, Californians Allied for Patient Protection, are gearing up to fight efforts to change the law that ensures injured patients receive fair compensation, while stabilizing liability costs.
07/23/2013
Covered California, the health and dental insurance online marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has announced the dental plans that will be available for purchase through the Exchange. Six plans were chosen: Anthem Dental; Blue Shield of California; Delta Dental of California; Health Net Dental; LIBERTY Dental Plan; and Premier Access Dental.
Update on CDA-sponsored legislation
07/22/2013
Three bills sponsored by CDA are moving through the Legislature. The bills focus on requiring dental plans operating in the California Health Benefit Exchange to abide, for the first time, by several consumer-focused provisions, supporting volunteer care by retired dentists, and increasing state oversight of mobile and portable dental practices.
06/28/2013
The California Dental Association applauds the governor’s signature of a new state budget plan that includes the restoration of Adult Denti-Cal services.
06/26/2013
The long-anticipated showdown over medical malpractice liability for medical providers may be fast approaching, with the announcement last month by a coalition of trial attorney and consumer advocates of a multi-pronged legislative and ballot initiative campaign, which could culminate in the November 2014 election.
06/25/2013
Legislation aimed at making sure dental plans put more of their revenues into actual care for patients passed its first legislative hurdle.  AB 18 (Pan), championed by CDA, successfully moved through the Assembly Health Committee, overcoming strong objections from dental plans and health plans.
CDA-sponsored bill advances over opposition from dental plans
06/12/2013
Legislation aimed at making sure dental plans put more of their revenues into actual care for patients passed its first legislative hurdle. AB 18, authored by Assemblyman Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) and sponsored by CDA, overcame strong objections from dental plans and health plans.
CDA wins Adult Denti-Cal spot in budget deal
06/11/2013
The move to restore adult Denti-Cal benefits is one step closer to reality after the governor and state lawmakers agreed to include funding in a preliminary budget deal. The restoration of benefits, which still needs final budget approval, would begin in May 2014, with a proposed annual cost of $77 million.
05/30/2013
CDA is sponsoring legislation to apply key patient protections and market reforms, including a minimum loss ratio on patient premiums, to dental plans participating in California’s new health plan marketplace, the Covered California health benefit exchange. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes many consumer-focused provisions that have already gone into effect, but that only apply to medical plans. Assemblymember Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), who chairs the Assembly Health Committee, has introduced AB 18, sponsored by CDA, that if passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor, would represent the first time these federal patient protections would be applied to dental plans participating in the small group market inside and outside the new health benefit exchange created by ACA.
05/24/2013
Two bills sponsored by CDA this year, one dealing with incentives for retired dentists to provide  free care and the other regulation of portable and mobile dental operations, passed the halfway mark in the legislative process last month by receiving unanimous votes in their first houses. After being approved by the appropriate policy and fiscal committees, AB 836 was passed by the full Assembly on April 25 by a 76-0 vote, while the Senate passed SB 562 on May 6 by a 32-0 vote.
05/23/2013
If attendance is any indication at a CDA Presents lecture on national health care reform, dentists are eager to learn more about the issue and its impact on their practices as well as employee and personal health coverage. CDA Legislative Affairs Manager Nicette Short presented “National Health Care Reform: How Will It Affect Your Practice?” — a course designed to provide information about the Affordable Care Act and its potential impact on dentists, the oral health care delivery system and the dental benefits market — last month at CDA Presents in Anaheim.
05/16/2013
Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra (D-Los Angeles) announced in late April that his legislation intended to permanently place into law various aspects of the state-sponsored Virtual Dental Home (VDH) pilot project will be held until next year to allow time for further clarification of its details.
04/22/2013
All TDIC Insurance Solutions plans, including Anthem, Kaiser and others, will be impacted by the Affordable Care Act at levels that are yet to be determined. As we move into 2014, plans continue to cite ongoing increases in the cost of providing health care as reasons for recent actions to raise premiums – even before full implementation of ACA. Because of this, TDIC Insurance Solutions is diligently working with experts in the industry to both determine the possible effects and explore alternatives for its health care policyholders.
04/16/2013
It has been three years since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), and full implementation of the federal health care reform law is now less than eight months away.  From nearly the moment of its passage at the federal level, California has been leading other states in working toward its Jan. 1, 2014, implementation, despite the fact that federal regulations providing guidance to states on key implementation details have not all been finalized.
03/13/2013
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently issued final rules regarding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that included much needed clarification on federal policy related to access to dental care inside and outside of the Health Benefit Exchanges — the health and dental insurance marketplaces created by the ACA.
02/18/2013
CDA is pushing for patients to have a flexible range of coverage options and the ability to choose their dentist, a model that reflects the way dental care historically has been provided.
12/18/2012
While many key provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) do not take effect until 2014, one element is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, barring any last-minute change – a 2.3 percent excise tax on “medical devices” that include many dental products such as equipment and prostheses.
12/17/2012
Earlier this year, Gov. Jerry Brown proposed and the Legislature approved the transition of all 875,000 of the children currently enrolled in the Healthy Families Program to the Medi-Cal program, which includes coverage for medical, vision, as well as their dental care. CDA has prepared this information for members about the transition.
12/12/2012
Like many people, you may be relieved that the endless election season is over, and that TV commercial breaks are no longer filled with campaign rhetoric. Nevertheless, elections have consequences, and so I would like to provide a sense of how the results of the 2012 national and state campaigns will impact the legislative environment for CDA in 2013.
12/03/2012
Legislation defining California’s Essential Health Benefits, which federal health care reform requires to include pediatric oral health benefits, has been signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. SB 951 by Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-Los Angeles) and AB 1453 by Assemblyman Bill Monning (D-Santa Cruz), chairs of the Senate and Assembly Health Committees respectively, define the health, vision and pediatric dental benefits that will be offered through California’s Health Benefit Exchange as part of its implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Governor signs CDA-sponsored dental plan disclosure bill
11/29/2012
CDA scored a significant victory in the dental benefits arena recently when Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that will place new disclosure requirements on dental plans and insurers when they make material changes to their contracts, rules and procedures. The legislation takes effect Jan. 1, 2013.
November 2012
11/09/2012
Top Stories: Dental plan disclosure bill signed into law; Dentists should be prepared when learning of an employee disability, Delta Dental meets with task force, discusses industry trends
10/31/2012
The CDA Dental Benefits Task Force, which was approved at the 2011 CDA House of Delegates to develop a deeper understanding of the underlying pressures and trends in dental care financing, conducted several information gathering meetings this year. A summary of the task force’s work was presented to the 2012 House of Delegates on Nov. 10.
September 2012
09/01/2012

Top Stories: Health care reform in California: Activity on several fronts; CDA Cares spotlights need for state oral health infrastructure; Compass helps dentists become practice leaders

June 2012
06/01/2012

Top Stories: CDA Cares clinic delivers $1.2 million in care; Symposium at CDA Presents stresses preventing childhood caries; CDA-sponsored bills moving in Legislature

March 2012
03/01/2012

Top Stories: CDA bills tackle dental plan concerns; CDA Cares treatment plan: Relieve pain and infection; TDIC announces rate reduction for CA policyholders

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