Impact of 'cavity kids'

Reaction to the center's story about problems with geographic dental managed care in Sacramento County was swift and far-reaching.

The day after the initial article ran in The Sacramento Bee, state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg penned a letter to DHCS director Toby Douglas demanding an investigation into the failures of the program and calling for corrective steps.

In his initial response -- and in subsequent letters -- Douglas promised immediate action, including beefed-up enforcement, a quicker complaint process and a mailing to all Sacramento Medi-Cal recipients with information on how to access care and resolve concerns. He also vowed to toughen new contracts with dental plans that take effect Jan. 1, 2013.

Douglas called on dental plans, too, to take steps, such as phone-call campaigns to beneficiaries who have not seen a dentist in the past year.

The Department of Managed Health Care also has some authority over dental plans, and has embarked on an immediate review of the five dental plans that participate in Sacramento’s program.

Steinberg introduced legislation that would break the monopoly that managed care has over Sacramento County's managed care dental program. Steinberg's bill would make managed care voluntary and allow recipients to choose fee-for-service.

Throughout, the issue was been debated at multiple legislative hearings. Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, chaired a special Capitol hearing about this and the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors aired their concerns at one of their meetings and promised to advocate for the fee-for-service option that Steinberg has proposed.

More Stories from This Project

Governor signs bill granting poor children more flexibility in dental care

Under a budget bill signed last week by the governor, some low-income Sacramento children who have tried unsuccessfully to get dental treatment will be able to leave managed care for a program that offers more flexibility. Under the new provisions,...

Bill passed could offer dental choice to poor Sacramento kids

Some low-income children in Sacramento County who have tried but failed to get dental care would have an escape route under a bill awaiting action by the governor. Currently, dental managed care is mandatory for the roughly 100,000 Sacramento County...

LA-area legislators criticize county’s dental program for poor children

Southern California legislators are vowing to press for changes in Los Angeles County’s dental program for poor children, saying it’s unacceptable that fewer than one in four kids on managed care saw a dentist last year. “Obviously, I’m concerned,”...
  • 1 of 6

Photos from This Project


Other Articles

Stress case: What’s behind the increased demand for mental health counseling from SoCal college students?

On February 7, author Claudia Boyd-Barrett appeared on Southern California Public Radio's Air Talk with Larry Mantle to discuss her project about...

At some schools, mental health battle includes the Bible

This article originally appeared in the Orange County Register. All kinds of colleges are dealing with unprecedented student demand for mental health...

California colleges, like USC, are in the midst of a mental health care crisis. Can help come fast enough?

This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Daily News. “Are you actually going to kill yourself?” Sociology Professor...
  • 1 of 254

Other Audio

© 2019 Center for Health Reporting