State Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) was thrilled that his bill to improve California’s youth dental care utilization was signed into law by Governor Brown over the weekend.
“The purpose of the Denti-Cal program is to provide children with oral health services, and we should encourage its use,” said Cannella. “The impact of the low utilization rates leads to expensive dental visits, missed school days, and lost wages by parents.”
Senate Bill 1098 is a response to the April 2016 Little Hoover Commission recommendations and the State Auditor findings entitled “Fixing Denti-Cal” saying the program could not attract enough dentists and was unable to provide most beneficiaries access to care. The report contains a number of recommendations, such as the Legislature setting a target goal, which is currently in the low 40% range. This bill sets a 60% goal utilization rate and requires a report back to the Legislature by October 1, 2017 on when the Department of Health Care Services projects it will be met.
“I represent counties where there aren’t enough dentists, and where the utilization rates are even lower than the statewide average,” Cannella continued. My hope is that this measure will improve the Denti-Cal program and therefore the health of California’s youth.”
SB 1098 had bipartisan support and was unanimously passed by the legislature last month. It was also backed by the California Dental Hygienists Association, the California Dental Association, Little Hoover Commission and others, and will be enacted on January 1, 2017.
At the same time, the Senator’s SB 1112 was also signed into law, which helps small water companies.