Prop. 56 Dental Loan Repayment Program will award up to $300K

Applications open spring 2019

Preliminary criteria for the Prop. 56 Dental Loan Repayment Program were recently announced by the California Department of Health Care Services. The program will repay up to $300,000 toward student loans for dentists who commit to serving Denti-Cal beneficiaries. The program received a one-time allocation of $30 million in the 2018-19 California state budget signed in June 2018 by then-Gov. Jerry Brown.

Applications will open this spring with participants selected no later than July 1. To be eligible, providers must commit to be a Medi-Cal enrolled provider for at least five years, and at least 30 percent of the applicant’s patients must be Medi-Cal beneficiaries. Twenty awards will be available per year.

There are two eligibility tracks. The first is for dentists who have graduated from dental school within the past five years. For these dentists, the program will award up to $300,000 in qualified student loan repayment over the five-year commitment. The second track is aimed at established practices willing to relocate to an area of highest need — a county or region in California that has less than five dental providers accepting Medi-Cal patients. These providers can receive up to $300,000 in business support grants over the five-year commitment. They will be required to submit a business relocation plan and documentation to support the cost of relocating.

CDA will notify members when the final criteria are available and the application period opens.

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New state revenue from the taxation of tobacco products, along with support from legislators and Gov. Jerry Brown, is putting over half a billion dollars toward increased Medi-Cal dental provider reimbursements for 2018-19. The higher reimbursement follows years of activity to improve the Medi-Cal dental program and increase access to oral health care for California’s 13.5 million Medi-Cal members.

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.