SUPPORT: Administration Proposal: Proposition 56 – Dental Supplemental Payment –Additional Time Allowances for Individuals with Special Health Care Needs

June 4, 2018

The Honorable Phil Ting, Chair
Budget Conference Committee
State Capitol, Room 6026
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Honorable Holly Mitchell, Vice-Chair
Budget Conference Committee
State Capitol, Room 5080

Re: SUPPORT: Administration Proposal: Proposition 56 – Dental Supplemental Payment –Additional Time Allowances for Individuals with Special Health Care Needs

Dear Assembly Member Ting and Senator Mitchell,

We are pleased the Governor has included in his budget proposal the reimbursement of dental providers for the additional time spent delivering all necessary dental services for patients with special health care needs. We ask for your approval of the administration’s proposal.

As President and CEO of the Gary and Mary West Health Institute, a San Diego-based, nonprofit applied medical research organization dedicated to enabling successful aging, I write on behalf of California’s low-income individuals living with chronic medical, mental, behavioral, or developmental disabilities who currently face greater challenges in accessing appropriate dental care than healthier people.

We understand the impact of providing dental services to people with special needs through our relationship with the Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center (GMWSDC). The Gary and Mary West Foundation supported the development of this community dental clinic housed within a Senior Wellness Center increasing access to dental care for a very vulnerable population of older adults in downtown San Diego.

A substantial proportion of the GMWSDC patients live with serious oral health issues, including pain, infection and malnutrition, due to dental disease. Eighty-five percent of the Center’s patients are Denti-Cal beneficiaries. Many have not seen a dentist in years—for others it has been decades, due to the costs associated with dental care.

We know that treating these patients often requires more time because usual methods of performing dental procedures are not feasible and/or extra time is required to appropriately manage their medical or mental health conditions. Many of the GMWSDC patients cannot tolerate being in a dental chair long enough to have necessary treatments completed and others require additional medical screenings at every appointment prior to being treated.

Currently, Denti-Cal’s standardized policies and payments, based on a healthier population, do
not acknowledge the additional costs of caring for people with special needs and inhibit
providers’ ability to receive proper payment for their care.

We believe the Governor’s budget proposal will greatly serve to increase access to high-quality
and appropriate dental care.


Shelley Lyford
President and Chief Executive Officer
West Health
10350 North Torrey Pines Road
La Jolla, CA 92037

For more information about West Health, visit and for more information about
the Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center, visit

CC: The Honorable Joaquin Arambula
The Honorable Richard Bloom
The Honorable Rocky Chavez
The Honorable Jay Olbernolte
The Honorable Nancy Skinner
The Honorable Richard Roth
The Honorable John M. W. Moorlach
The Honorable Jim Nielsen
Rene Mollow, Department of Health Care Services
Scott Ogus, consultant, Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review
Andrea Margolis, consultant, Assembly Committee on Budget
Agnes Lee, consultant, Office of the Speaker of the Assembly
Marjorie Swartz, Office of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate