Dentists Rally To Fight Controversial Cutbacks That Threaten Health Of Low & Middle Income Residents
Written by Dentistry Today Thursday, 14 November 2013 11:36
Los Angeles, CA, October 17,2013 – As of September 5, 2013, dental providers for Medicaid in the state of California have been hit with a 10% reduction of Medi-Cal provider reimbursement rates by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS).
Further, there is a pending Claw-Back or retroactive collection of 10% on fees collected since 2011, drastically affecting how low and middle-income people can obtain quality, affordable dental treatment.
Dentists who have a high percentage of Medicaid patients could face bankruptcy as a result of these cutbacks. Furthermore, many practitioners are now discouraged from applying for Denti-Cal provider permits, which will have a devastating effect on those who have a genuine need for these services, according to Jerry L. Lanier, DDS, owner of Kids Dental Kare with locations throughout Los Angeles.
In an effort to protect patients state-wide, Dr. Lanier along with his associates, are rallying together to dispute the implementation of this policy. Lanier and his team of partners, including all of the California Dental Societies, associations and various advocacy groups, aim to heighten awareness for the general public who may not realize that they will be affected by these changes in the months and years to come. To facilitate this effort, they have created the opt-in page: www.SaveDenticalKids.com to ignite a call-to-action and help as many people as possible contact their representatives to try to drive change.
“These cuts will affect thousands of children and service providers in our already financially-burdened state,” states Dr. Lanier, founder and owner of one of, if not the largest Medicaid Pediatric Dental Organizations in California www.kidsdentalkare.com. “However if we join together as providers and patients, perhaps we can initiate a removal of these policies.”
Kids Dental Kare (KDK) was founded in 1993 by Lanier who had a vision of a place where low and middle-income children can obtain quality, affordable dental treatment without the fear of seeing a dentist. His philosophy is cemented upon one of his favorite quotes by Theodore Roosevelt. “Nobody cares how much you know till they know how much you care.” This philosophy is the foundation upon which “KDK” is built. “Kare” with a “K” represents the blending of “Kindness and Care”.
Dr. Lanier attended Dental School at Meharry Dental School in Nashville, Tenn. on a Public Health scholarship. After his graduation in 1983 Dr. Lanier worked in a Public Health clinic for 4 years, where he became aware of debased and disadvantaged communities. In1991 he moved to Los Angeles and worked in a variety of dental offices. Finally, Dr. Lanier struck out on his own to follow his dream as an Entrepreneur and Community servant. "I was riding around and saw an abandoned dental office for lease in a Hollywood neighborhood," Dr. Lanier said. "I couldn't afford a lot, this place was affordable, and I saw kids up and down the streets, so I didn't need to do any demographic study; I just looked for the strollers".
Continuing his efforts of commitment to treat children, Dr. Lanier purchased a 25-foot mobile unit dental screening van, providing free screenings while distributing toothbrushes, toothpaste and balloons." Seventeen years later Kids Dental Kare exists in 9 locations: Hollywood, East L.A., El Monte, Panorama City, Pasadena, Paramount, Lynwood, Huntington Park, and Burbank.
The KDK mobile unit still attends community health fairs and gives presentations to organizations, pre-schools and elementary schools. At the schools, the KDK staff lead the children in song, "Brush, brush, brush...," using a giant sized toothbrush and a puppet. Dr. Lanier says he visits the school nurses because, "They are on the front line and see the kids with toothaches, and mouths that are in terrible conditions".
Dr. Lanier has been recognized by the city and the state for his work providing information and dental screenings to the community.