CDA Presents course will explain promising changes to state's dental program

Promising changes to the Medi-Cal dental program, including substantial rate increases and a streamlined provider application that saves applicants significant time, are making it more enticing for dentists to become Denti-Cal providers. CDA reported on some of these changes in June with passage of the 2018-19 state budget, which dedicated over $550 million in new funds to Denti-Cal rates due to Proposition 56 tax revenue. Now, dentists have an opportunity to learn the details about these changes and additional Denti-Cal program investments at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in September.

Hosted by CDA Public Affairs and presented by the California Department of Health Care Services, the course is intended for new or potential providers as well as current providers who want to understand these latest administrative and policy changes and the proper billing processes for treatments. Attendees will specifically learn:

  • How to participate in Denti-Cal’s Dental Transformation Initiative, which offers incentive payments, including additional incentives for treating children who are under age 6.
  • How to properly code and bill for recently expanded adult benefits.
  • How the new Denti-Cal provider application reduces time and paperwork and now offers providers one-on-one assistance in person or by phone.
  • How to use the new online provider portal to check treatment authorization and request claim status or payment history.

$30M for student loan repayment

The course will discuss another significant opportunity provided for in the 2018-19 budget — a one-time allocation of $30 million toward a program that would repay student loans for dentists who commit to serving Denti-Cal beneficiaries. The program is not yet active, but criteria are in development and recent news will be shared with course attendees.

CDA worked closely with DHCS to reduce administrative burdens for Denti-Cal providers in addition to advocating better provider rates. CDA Public Affairs intends for this course to keep providers up to date on the resulting program improvements and other major improvements that are in the works.

“Improving Oral Health of All Californians: Dental Transformation Initiative and More” takes place 8:30-10:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 7. Learn more in the online program (page 43), at cdapresents.com or in the onsite program.

Related Items

Denti-Cal providers and beneficiaries in nine counties impacted by the Carr and Cranston fires will receive processing exceptions to expedite replacement of removable dental appliances, a special Denti-Cal Bulletin states. According to the August Bulletin, claims will be accepted without requiring prior authorization and will not be rejected due to frequency limitations for subsequent removable appliances for eligible beneficiaries.

The 2018-19 state budget signed by Gov. Jerry Brown dedicates $210 million from the Proposition 56 Tobacco Tax revenue to Denti-Cal providers, a $70 million increase from last year’s amount. And a new aspect in this year’s budget is an additional one-time allocation of $30 million toward a program that would repay student loans for dentists who commit to serving Denti-Cal beneficiaries and locate their practice in a county or region that lacks adequate providers.

California's Little Hoover Commission, an independent state oversight agency, held a special hearing March 22 to assess progress within the Denti-Cal program since the commission released the April 2016 report titled Fixing Denti-Cal. The commission heard from several panels, including Denti-Cal providers who serve the population in a variety of settings. CDA member dentist Nagaraj Murthy, DDS, spoke about his experiences as a long-term Denti-Cal program provider.