Masters Thesis

A policy review of Denti-Cal: Does centralizing the management decrease access?

This paper will provide a comprehensive idea about California’s Medi-Cal Denti-Cal policy, recent amendments in the system, and its effects on delivering dental services within the past few years. The California Department of Health Care Services is the solo state agency that monitors and administers the Medi-Cal dental services and access among the program recipients. The purpose of this study is to conduct an in-depth analysis of the Medi-Cal dental system and to discover the critical factors that influence the services received by child beneficiaries. The sample frame and how the data were gathered are stated with the methodology. Text analysis was used to analyze the data with a discussion of the limitations. The main challenges in the dental health care system in California were found to be less awareness of preventive dental care among the low-income children and their families, low reimbursement to providers, small utilization rates and uneven distribution of the dental workforce throughout the state. Dental services are actively rendered in urban areas rather than rural and in less developed regions of the state. Recommendations are provided for the Department of Health Care Services, policy makers and state legislature that may be useful towards the improvement of dental access and oral health among child recipients in California.

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