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Denti-Cal Program Under Investigation

Photo caption: A dentist is shown working on a child's teeth, Dec. 14, 2007.

Photo credit: Flickr / googhie

A dentist is shown working on a child's teeth, Dec. 14, 2007.

The non-partisan Little Hoover Commission has launched an investigation into California's dental program.

The Medi-Cal program for children’s dental care is once again under scrutiny.

On the heels of a state audit of the Denti-Cal program, the non-partisan Little Hoover Commission has launched its own investigation.

In a report released in December 2014, the California State Auditor found that less than half of the children enrolled in Denti-Cal saw a dentist in 2013. What’s more, the audit said the program’s reimbursement rates are much lower than the national average.

Jenny Kattlove is senior director of programs at The Children's Partnership, a Santa Monica-based nonprofit group. She thinks the state is unlikely to give across-the-board rate increases.

“One idea would be to target increased reimbursement rates toward providers that serve younger children, so that you can start prevention early, and save costs in the long run," Kattlove said.

The Little Hoover Commission held a public hearing on the Denti-Cal program last week. It's expected to issue a report within a year.

In the meantime, Denti-Cal officials say they welcome input from stakeholders, and are committed to improving the program.

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