Smile, California Spotlights Medi-Cal Dental

New Campaign Aims to Help Millions of Medi-Cal Members Use their
Dental Benefit

SACRAMENTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#SmileCalifornia–Today, the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) launched Smile,
California
, a campaign to increase members use of Medi-Cal’s dental
benefit. The Medi-Cal Dental Program covers routine, preventive and
restorative care for more than 13.5 million members in California, but
less than half of child members and only about 20 percent of adults use
these services each year. Smile, California will educate eligible
members about the free and low-cost services available to maintain a
healthy smile and make it easier for members to access care.

Research conducted earlier this year with more than 2,600 parents of
child members revealed that most parents (90 percent) know Medi-Cal
includes dental coverage, but they are less certain of the types of
available services and the fact that these services are free for
children. While parents’ reasons for not using their child’s benefit
varied, the most common reasons were lack of need, lack of information,
and concerns about providers. Parents are aware that oral health is
closely connected to overall health and are motivated by a desire for
their children to be healthy. They are eager to take advantage of
preventive services that guard against decay, like sealants and fluoride
varnish.

“Smile, California was created to help members take full advantage of
the services available to them,” said Alani Jackson, Chief of the
Medi-Cal Dental Services Division within DHCS. “We want to remove any
mystery around dental coverage, promote the benefits of regular dental
visits, and at the same time grow the provider network so members can
easily find the care they need and want.”

The centerpiece of the campaign is a new, mobile-enabled member website.
At SmileCalifornia.org
and SonrieCalifornia.org
members can get the facts about the Medi-Cal Dental Program, learn about
covered services and oral health needs at every age, and find a Medi-Cal
dentist.

Smile, California will also connect with members through social
media, direct mail, community events and by partnering with
organizations across the state that also serve Medi-Cal members. New
materials in multiple languages will be distributed through partners,
county health departments, providers and by the Smile, California
outreach team. As part of the launch, the campaign will tour the state
to raise awareness and meet members one-on-one to discuss services and
provide referrals.

Smile, California is part of an integrated member and provider
outreach plan developed by the DHCS and Delta Dental, Medi-Cal Dental’s
administrative services contractor, to improve overall performance of
the program. The campaign will help to meet the plan’s annual objectives
to increase dental visits among all members, increase the number of
children receiving preventive services and molar sealants, increase the
number of providers accepting Medi-Cal and Medi-Cal providers taking on
new patients.

To match the increasing demand among members for dental services, Smile,
California
is also helping to expand the network of more than 10,000
dental providers and pursuing alternatives like mobile care and
teledentistry to bring care to more communities in California.

“With one-third of Californians receiving dental care through Medi-Cal,
greater member and provider participation will quickly add up to
thousands of healthier smiles. This is a tremendous opportunity to have
a positive impact on oral health status across California,” said Jackson.

The Smile, California campaign fact sheet can be found here.
Additional information can be found at SmileCalifornia.org.

About the California Department of Health Care Services

DHCS provides Californians with access to affordable, integrated,
high-quality health care, including medical, dental, mental health,
substance use treatment services and long-term care. Our vision is to
preserve and improve the overall health and well-being of all
Californians.

Contacts

California Department of Health Care Services
Norman
Williams, 916-440-7660

Office of Communications

leverton

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