Chairs of Legislative Health Committees Express Alarm After Denti-Cal Audit
Senator Ed Hernández, Chair of Senate Health Committee, and Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), newly appointed Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, issued the following statements after reviewing a recent audit by the Bureau of State Audits detailing failures in California’s Denti-Cal program.
“Protecting the basic health care needs of our children should be a top priority for our state, and the findings of the audit are alarming,” Bonta explained. “My colleagues and I are closely reviewing each of the audit recommendations to determine how to correct these problems going forward, ensuring that our children are provided with high-quality dental care.”
“I’m most troubled by Health Care Services' apparent failure to perform annual reviews on reimbursement rates," Hernandez stated. “The fact that we have no idea what effect the recent Medi-Cal rate reductions have had on access to care is unacceptable.”
The audit, which was requested by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, was a review of how the California Department of Health Care Services is fulfilling its mandate to ensure that children enrolled in Medi-Cal receive dental care services for which they are eligible. The report found that nearly 56 percent of the 5.1 million children enrolled in Denti-Cal last year did not receive dental care. The audit also found that there was a severe lack of providers in many counties, directly impairing children’s access to care.