Funding preserved for Specialty Dental Clinic Program amid state budget cuts

CDA works with lawmakers to maintain $50 million program; grant application review to resume
June 27, 2024
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Smiling kid dental patient
Quick Summary: CDA has successfully worked with lawmakers to maintain funding for the Specialty Dental Clinic Grant program to build and expand dental facilities for patients with special health care needs. The importance of this funding was conveyed to lawmakers throughout the year with CDA members supporting the effort, including during CDA’s advocacy days at the State Capitol where 51 members met with legislative offices. CDA will keep dentists informed about opportunities to amend their applications for projects.

With the state of California facing an estimated $47 billion deficit, CDA has successfully worked with lawmakers to maintain funding for the Specialty Dental Clinic Grant program, a recently established program to build and expand dental facilities for patients with special health care needs.

The $50 million program, initially funded in the 2022-23 state budget, was preserved in this year’s final budget agreement, which the state legislature has now approved and will soon be signed by Governor Gavin Newsom. Two legislators in particular took the lead in advocating for the funding – State Senator Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and Assemblymember Rick Zbur (D-Los Angeles).

New programs funded by recent budget surpluses were a primary target of spending cuts to address the sizable deficit, making the continuation of this program all the more notable. The program had previously been included in a swath of proposed cuts in that category.

“The Specialty Dental Clinic program is the first of its kind and will help transform dental care for patients with special health care needs,” said CDA President Carliza Marcos, DDS. “There is a desperate need for this program, and we are very pleased the funding process can now continue for the many shovel-ready projects that are pending.”

The grant application process for the program, overseen by the California Health Facilities Financing Authority (CHFFA), had already closed on April 1, 2024, with CHFFA receiving 101 applications totaling $270 million in proposed projects, far beyond the $50 million allocated.

The importance of this funding was conveyed to lawmakers throughout the year, with CDA members supporting the effort. The funding was a priority topic during CDA’s four advocacy days at the State Capitol, where 51 members met with 48 legislative offices.

“Our members who advocated on this should be very proud of their work,” added Dr. Marcos. “We are also extremely grateful to Senator Atkins and Assemblymember Zbur for their commitment to this cause. Dental funding has not always fared well during budget deficits, so it is no small matter when it is protected.”

Given the delay in the application process, CDA will keep dentists informed about opportunities offered by CHFFA to amend applications for project updates.

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