A newly released California state audit confirmed what The Children’s Partnership already suspected: California’s Medi-Cal program is failing to meet the dental care needs of the state’s most vulnerable children. In fact, Medi-Cal is providing dental care to fewer than half of all children enrolled in the program.
The audit references the TCP-authored issue brief, Fix Medi-Cal Dental Coverage, Half of California Kids Depend on It, in which we highlight stories of real families who faced barriers to getting needed dental care and provide practical solutions to addressing the gaps in care these children face. More recently, we conducted an informal “secret shopper” survey of the state’s Medi-Cal Dental Program, and found that, too often, families—particularly those with young children—had difficulty finding a dentist to treat their child. All of these reports clearly point to the need to do something now. Policy makers, the Brown Administration—and we, as stakeholders—have a lot to do to close the dental care gap half for all of California’s children. It is imperative that we take steps to reduce the number of children who miss school or are distracted by pain resulting from easily preventable dental problems.
Listen to Jenny Kattlove’s interview on KQED.