California Department of Health Care Services

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California Department of Health Care Services
Agency overview
Jurisdiction California
Annual budget US$ 91 billion (2015-16)[1]
Agency executive
  • Jennifer Kent, Director
Parent agency California Health and Human Services Agency

The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) is a department within the California Health and Human Services Agency that finances and administers a number of individual health care service delivery programs, including Medi-Cal, which provides health care services to low-income people. It was formerly known as the California Department of Health Services, which was reorganized into the DHCS and the California Department of Public Health.[2]


A December 2014 audit of the DHCS's Medi-Cal dental care program (Denti-Cal) by the California State Auditor reported that:

  • "Information shortcomings and ineffective actions" by DHCS are putting child beneficiaries at higher risk of dental disease.
  • Only 43.9 percent of children enrolled in Denti-Cal had seen a dentist the previous year – the 12th worst among states that submitted data.
  • Reimbursement rates for the 10 most common dental procedures were 35 percent of the national average – and haven’t risen since the 2000-2001 budget year.
  • Eleven California counties had no Denti-Cal providers or no providers willing to accept new child patients covered by Denti-Cal: Del Norte, Tehama, Yuba, Sierra, Nevada, Amador, Calaveras, Alpine, Mariposa, Mono and Inyo counties.
  • California might not have enough Denti-Cal-participating dentists to handle millions of new Denti-Cal beneficiaries as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
  • DHCS had not adequately overseen its Denti-Cal administrative contractor, which had not "performed contract-required outreach for improving dental access in underserved areas."[1]


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