Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has signed a bill (AB 1174) to expand Medi-Cal coverage to teledentistry services beginning on Jan. 1, 2015, Kaiser Health News’ “Capsules” reports. Medi-Cal is California’s Medicaid program.
California is one of the first states to enact teledentistry services, according to “Capsules” (Hernandez, “Capsules,” Kaiser Health News, 9/29).
Details of Law
The bill, by Assembly member Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima), is designed to reach people in underserved areas — particularly rural areas — across the state (Gorn, California Healthline, 1/28).
It makes permanent two components of the Virtual Dental Home pilot program, which uses telehealth to offer dental services in elementary schools, preschools and nursing homes:
- Expanding the scope of practice for dental assistants and hygienists; and
- Providing Medi-Cal reimbursements for telehealth-enabled dental services.
The program allows dental assistants and hygienists to consult remotely with a dentist and share health records online. After a consultation, the workers can perform certain services without a dentist’s supervision, such as:
- Applying temporary fillings; and
- Determining necessary X-rays (Pew Charitable Trusts release, 9/29).
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