02/12/2015

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.

“This particular CDA Cares clinic is very important for dentists because we have a tremendous opportunity to educate new lawmakers about patient care and the state’s responsibility to ensure access to care and an adequate Denti-Cal provider network,” said CDA President Walt Weber, DDS. “The recent state audit of the Denti-Cal program highlights serious issues, including very low reimbursement rates that the state needs to address.”

The Sacramento event will be the seventh CDA Cares clinic since 2012, and the second one to be held in the capital city. At the previous Sacramento clinic in August 2012, a tour by Past Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) resulted in the senator’s successful efforts to partially restore funding for adult Denti-Cal last May.

“We know the tours of CDA Cares clinics have been eye-opening experiences for dozens of state and local policymakers across the state,” said William Marble, DDS, chair of CDA’s Government Affairs Council. “During tours, they learn how complex the delivery of dental care is and why it is important for Californians to have access to dental care. Policymakers leave with a greater understanding of oral health care and its link to overall health, as well as a new-found appreciation of the good work dentists do in their communities.”

To help provide oral health care services at no charge to the large number of expected patients, the CDA Foundation needs volunteer dentists, including oral surgeons, as well as dental hygienists, assistants, dental lab technicians, physicians, nurses and pharmacists.

Additionally, community volunteers are needed to help escort patients, translate/interpret, dispense medication, set up and tear down the clinic, register patients and volunteers, conduct exit interviews, enter data and provide oral health education.

CDA Cares is a program that allows volunteer dentists, with the assistance of other dental professionals and community volunteers, to provide dental services at no charge to patients who experience barriers to care. The main goal of the clinic is to relieve pain and eliminate infection by providing fillings, extractions, cleanings and oral health education to more than 2,000 people during the two-day event.

To date, the CDA Foundation and CDA have hosted six clinics that provided $9.2 million in dental care to 11,901 patients thanks to the generosity of volunteers and support from the community.

“We would like to encourage our colleagues across the state to volunteer at a CDA Cares clinic. If you’re not available for Sacramento, the Foundation will be hosting a Fresno clinic in October and a Ventura County clinic in 2016,” said Weber. “It’s a great opportunity to show how we are truly making a difference in the lives of Californians.”

For more information and to register to volunteer, visit cdafoundation.org.



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