AB 648 (Low): Meeting the Dental Care Needs of California’s Children Spreading the Virtual Dental Home

The California Dental Association and The Children’s Partnership are co-sponsoring AB 648 to ensure the Virtual Dental Home (VDH)—an innovative and cost-effective system for providing dental care to California’s most vulnerable children and adults in community settings—can be spread across the state.

AB 648 would:

  • Authorize a one-time, $4 million General Fund appropriation to establish a Virtual Dental Home grant program, under the leadership and direction of the State Dental Director, for the purpose of expanding the VDH into the state’s areas of greatest need; and
  • Authorize the allocation of grant funds for activities that support VDH implementation, including training, community based learning collaboratives, technical assistance and equipment.

The Virtual Dental Home

New advances in technology are announced every day, but often overlooked is the opportunity to turn these advances into better oral health for underserved children and adults. The Virtual Dental Home, being demonstrated by the Pacific Center for Special Care at the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry (Pacific), combines technological advances with innovations in workforce to reach underserved children and adults with the dental care they need. And now—thanks to groundbreaking legislation enacted in 2014—the Virtual Dental Home has the potential to become a sustainable and scalable model for delivering dental care.

Top Reasons Why Electronic Care Coordination Can Help Children and Youth in Foster Care Beat the Odds

In California today, there are over 62,000 children and youth in foster care, many of whom face instability in their homes, schools, and health care. While many foster youth overcome significant adverse experiences to become healthy and productive adults, for others the challenges can last a lifetime. Foster youth often have multiple, unique health and academic needs, but, because of frequent changes in their medical care, families, and the schools they attend, efforts to help them are often disjointed.

Digital technology offers a powerful opportunity to build information sharing into practice in a way that other coordination efforts have not. Electronic care coordination promotes more effective and reliable connections among caregivers, health providers, educators, and youth themselves. This can ease foster youth’s transitions into adulthood and help them connect to the right resources they need to lead healthy and productive lives. This report outlines the current landscape for foster youth and the top benefits electronic care coordination can provide to alleviate their pressing needs.

ALL IN For Health’s First Progress Report and A Look Ahead

ALL IN’s First Progress Report summarizes ALL IN For Health’s many accomplishments to date—including making nearly 650,000 contacts with parents, students, and school employees across California about their health coverage options. In this new report, learn how education leaders, like you, made a difference, and find out how ALL IN For Health will help you with health coverage throughout the 2014–2015 school year.

Improving Care Coordination for California’s Children and Youth in Foster Care Using Integrated Personal Health Records: A Strategic Plan of Action

In 2011, the State of California established an “audacious goal” to provide an electronic personal health record (PHR) to every child and youth in foster care that would enable information sharing and linkages across data systems, providers, and agencies that serve them. In 2012, the California Health eQuality (CheQ) program awarded a small planning grant to The Children’s Partnership to pull together stakeholders, review the research and current initiatives, and develop a Strategic Plan to help California policymakers, funders, public officials, and advocates chart a path forward to implement this “audacious goal.”

This report highlights the Strategic Plan and the progress made since it was completed in 2013. Consistent with the Plan’s recommendations, a variety of public and private partners, including The Children’s Partnership, have been implementing two county demonstration projects to test two models for providing an electronic personal health record to children and youth in foster care, measure the impact of the PHR on their lives, and generate lessons learned for scaling the model to other counties and/or statewide. Additionally, The Children’s Partnership is convening a variety of stakeholders to brainstorm ideas for incorporating a link to a PHR into California’s new Child Welfare Services data system (CWS/NS), now under design. In the near future, The Children’s Partnership will initiate a learning community of counties currently engaged in electronic information exchange to share lessons learned and best practices for implementing a PHR for children and youth in foster care.

Additional Resources:

Addressing California Children’s Dental Disease: Restoring CCDDPP Background Paper

The California Children’s Dental Disease Prevention Program (CCDDPP) was a highly successful program that helped to improve the oral health of California’s underserved children. Between 1980 and 2009, CCDDPP provided school-based oral health prevention services to hundreds of thousands of underserved children. Funding for the program was suspended indefinitely in 2009.

With dental disease being the number one chronic health problem among children in California and nationally and schools being the ideal place to reach children with necessary preventive dental care, it’s time to restore funding to CCDDPP.

WEBINAR: School-Based Telemedicine

Learn What’s Involved, How to Get Started and the Secrets to Successful School-Based Telemedicine Programs.

AMD Global Telemedicine, MY Health-e-Schools and The Children’s Partnership organization have come together to share our knowledge on how to implement, run and sustain an effective school-based telemedicine program.

Listen to this archived webinar to hear first hand from MY Health-e-Schools about how they started their program, lessons learned along the way and how they have managed to sustain success. In addition, hear from The Children’s Partnership about school-based telemedicine programs from across the country, lessons learned and the benefits of school-based telemedicine.

Finding Dental Care in California: A Snapshot of Using the State’s Website to Find a Medi-Cal Dentist for Children

This issue brief summarizes findings from a study that illustrates the difficulty parents of children enrolled in Medi-Cal often experience in accessing dental care for their children. The study mimicked the online process that parents can use to try to find a dentist who treats Medi-Cal patients and found the experience often exasperating.

Specifically, it looks at the accuracy and reliability of the State’s online resource—the national InsureKidsNow.gov website—for identifying dentists who treat children enrolled in Medi-Cal, and assesses families’ experiences when calling identified dentists.

Electronic Information Exchange: Elements that Matter for Children in Foster Care

This brief lays out the case for investing in systems that enable electronic information exchange for children and youth in foster care, reviews existing efforts underway in states and communities, identifies specific elements that serve this population most effectively, and discusses steps that state advocates can take to establish an integrated electronic record of care for foster children and youth in their state.