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CDA urges state to preserve funding for dental patients with disabilities, special health care needs

May 10, 2024

Sacramento, Calif. — The California Dental Association (CDA) is calling on lawmakers to protect dental facility funding for the state’s most vulnerable patients. The May Revise budget proposal released today by the governor does not include previously allocated funding for the Specialty Dental Clinic Grant Program, which would develop facilities that serve patients with disabilities and special health care needs.

While the budget deficit requires many difficult cuts, this program is primed to address an essential need for patients that have waited too long for basic access to dental care. This includes patients with autism, cerebral palsy, Alzheimer’s disease and other disabilities that can require highly specialized facilities to provide dental treatment. Current capacity in the state is so limited that these patients are often forced to wait, sometimes up to two years, and travel for hours to facilities equipped for this type of care.

Furthermore, the uncertainty around the funding has already disrupted an allocation process that was well underway. The grant application process for this program closed on April 1, with the state receiving 101 applications totaling $270 million in proposed projects. The urgent need for this program is clear, and the dental community has been ready to meet the need – with far more shovel-ready projects than the $50 million initially allocated to this program can fund.

Eliminating or delaying this funding would be a tragic waste of the work already completed to address a decades-long crisis for a population in desperate need of help. CDA urges lawmakers to maintain funding for the Specialty Dental Clinic Grant Program. 

About the California Dental Association

The California Dental Association represents organized dentistry in the state of California. Founded in 1870, CDA is committed to the success of our members in service to their patients and the public. CDA also contributes to the oral health of Californians through various comprehensive programs and advocacy. CDA’s membership consists of more than 27,000 dentists, making it the largest constituent of the American Dental Association. For more information, visit


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