Advocacy

SFDS advocates for your practice, your business, and your patients. From fair payment from government and private insurance, to access to care for our underserved citizens, to professional liability protections under MICRA, the SFDS is working hard on your behalf to make sure the voice of San Francisco dentists is heard locally, and through the CDA at the State and the ADA at the National levels. SFDS and CDA continue to focus on issues like reducing consumption of sugary beverages, tobacco legislation and increasing provider rates for Denti-Cal/Medi-Cal.  

Issues and Priorities: 

Proposition V, Sugary Beverage Distributor Tax:  supported/endorsed by the SFDS, and like Prop 56, this measure passed overwhelmingly with 62 percent of the vote.  Proposition V places a tax of one cent per ounce on the distribution of sugar-sweetened beverages. The distributors of sugar-sweetened beverages in San Francisco would be responsible for paying the tax. The tax would not apply to retail sales of sugar-sweetened beverages. Some beverages would not be subject to the tax, including: Diet sodas; Beverages that contain only natural fruit and vegetable juice; Infant formula; Milk from animal or vegetable sources, including soy, rice and almond milk; Nutritional therapy, rehydration and other beverages for medical use; and Alcoholic beverages. A 16-member Advisory Committee would be established to evaluate the impact of the tax on beverage pricing, consumer purchasing behavior, and public health. The Committee would also advise the Mayor and Board of Supervisors about how to reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in San Francisco.  The success of Proposition V is an example of what is possible through our collective efforts working with others in health care, including the San Francisco Medical Society.  

Proposition 56, Tobacco Tax:  co-sponsored by CDA and endorsed by the SFDS to raise the state’s tobacco tax by $2, passed overwhelmingly with 62 percent of the vote. Proposition 56 will save thousands of lives, save the health care system billions of dollars, and provide substantial new funding for Medi-Cal provider reimbursements so more patients can get care. Also, the state oral health program overseen by California’s dental director will now receive $30 million per year, a tenfold increase in state funding for a program that has not previously had a dedicated revenue source. The success of Proposition 56 is another example of what is possible through collective efforts working with others in health care.

AB 2485 (Santiago) Student Loan Repayment:  In 2002 the California Dental Corps Loan Repayment Program was established to award dental school graduates grants for making a three year commitment to providing dental care in underserved areas. These grant recipients can receive up to $105,000 per individual. Currently almost half the 3 million in funds allocated remains unused due to limitations on applicant eligibility and other hurtles. This bill would remove barriers to disbursement of the remaining funds.  AB 2485 passed with unanimous support and was signed into law by the Governor. (CDA – supported)

AB 2235 (Thurmond) Pediatric Dental Anesthesia:  In cases where patients are in need of general anesthesia or sedation to receive dental care, written informed consent of the associated risks is required under current law. AB 2235, known as “Caleb’s Law, was in response to the tragic incident involving the use of general anesthesia for a pediatric patient.  The law provides specific requirements for Dental Board review of current state policies on the use of anesthesia for minors, and additional specificity in the written informed consent that is consistent with standard practice. AB 2235 has passed both the Assembly and Senate and was approved by the Governor on September 23, 2016. (CDA – supported)

Medi-Cal Reimbursement Rates:  A state audit found 56% of the 5 million children enrolled are not receiving any dental care, the majority of counties have an insufficient number of Denti-Cal providers, and the Department of Health Care Services is not providing adequate oversight.  California reimbursement rates are among the lowest in the nation. California has not raised dental reimbursement rates since 2000 and, according to the state auditor, the state’s reimbursement rates for the 10 most common children’s dental services are only 35% of the national average. The SFDS joined CDA in urging the state to increase rates for the top 10 children’s services to the national average and to reverse the 10% cut for all other pediatric and adult dental services.  As a result, the state has reversed the 10% rate cuts for Denti-Cal providers, which have been in effect since 2013, a positive first step. The state's Denti-Cal program continues to struggle with providing adequate access to dental care.  With reimbursement rates at the same level as they were in 2000, reform of the state’s existing managed care organization tax, supported by CDA, was needed and resulted in California agreeing to comply with federal requirements that the tax apply to all managed care health plans, not just those that service Medi-Cal patients in order to preserve the federal matching money the tax brings to the state.  This preserves the $1.3 billion in federal funding for Medi-Cal. AB 2207, one of several bills addressing these issues, would simplify the provider enrollment process and improve the accuracy of the provider directory in addition to requiring Medi-Cal managed health care plans to provide screening for patients and referral to Medi-Cal dental providers.  It would also provide additional oversight reporting responsibilities by the Department of Health Care Services. AB2207 was passed and signed by the Governor in September.  

For a more comprehensive listing of CDA’s legislative & advocacy efforts, visit: http://www.cda.org/advocacy/legislation/major-legislative-issues