Fix Medi-Cal Dental Coverage: Half the Children in California Depend On It," an issue brief from The Children' Partnership in Santa Monica (and Washington, D.C.) was issued last week with an action plan for advocates to implement that will ensure Medi-Cal has the capacity to provide high-quality dental care to all children enrolled.
Fact: In 2009-2010, only 35% of California’s 26,500 – 9,275 -- dentists treated children. Of that number, only 25% treated children enrolled in Medi-Cal. We’ll do the math: 2,318 dentists for 1,250,496 children, a ratio of 1:539.
That number is skewed to urban areas, and it predates last June's termination of thestate's Healthy Families program, which has resulted in an additional estimated 800,000 children transitioning from Healthy Families services into the Medi-Cal program(an on-going, difficult phased transition: read more about that here.)
“California’s Medi-Cal dental system is already struggling to serve children and is unprepared for what’s to come,” said Wendy Lazarus, at right, founder and co-president of The Children’s Partnership. “California’s kids deserve real access to quality dental care—not a false promise of it.”
"... there simply are not enough dental providers in areas where under-served children live. One of the solutions is to bring dental care to children where they are, such at school and Head Start sites." -- Jenny Kattlove (above), the Director of Strategic Health Initiatives for The Children's Partnership told California's Children. Speaking with California's Children, Kattlove added, "...dental care has been sorely overlooked by the public and policy makers....it is really about action."
The Children's Partnership (TCP) is a 20-year-old nonprofit child advocacy organization with offices in Santa Monica and Washington, DC. It focuses on ensuring that all children have the health care they need.
Written by Taylor McCulloch.