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CMS approves $6.2 billion waiver for Medi-Cal

January 12, 2016 Sacramento, Calif. — The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Dec. 30 officially approved a $6.2 billion waiver for California's Medi-Cal program, $740 million of which is earmarked to help overhaul the state's dental program.

In a report outlining the proposed reforms, California's Department of Health Care Services said it hopes to increase provider enrollment and expand preventive oral care to children enrolled in the state's Denti-Cal program.

"This waiver gives the state new flexibility to work on innovative dental programs and scrap those that are underperforming," said California Dental Association President Ken Wallis in a press release. "We know the state's 20-year dental managed care pilot programs in Sacramento and Los Angeles are unsuccessful and have not served children well — it's time for the state to move away from the ineffective dental managed care plan models and develop and test new and sustainably funded dental care programs that provide better access to care."

According to CDA, California has among the nation's lowest Medicaid reimbursement rates — 35 percent of the national average, and a recent state audit found that 56 percent of children currently enrolled in the Denti-Cal program are not able to access any dental care.

"CDA looks forward to working with the administration and legislature on Denti-Cal program reforms to ensure millions of children and adults can access much needed dental care," concluded the release.