California dental hygienists sue HHS, claim new rules limit dental access for Medicaid patients

A group of dental hygienists filed a lawsuit Jan. 19 against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for its approval of changes to California's Medicaid plan.

Registered Dental Hygienists in Alternative Practice, represented by the AARP Foundation and Foley & Lardner, filed the lawsuit. The group claims that California's new preauthorization process and 58 percent rate cut to periodontal maintenance often leave institutionalized Medi-Cal recipients without critical dental care.

The lawsuit alleges that HHS's approval of unwarranted and onerous procedural hurdles to the provision of periodontal care to patients and the rate cut "has resulted in a complete denial of periodontal maintenance to thousands of Medi-Cal beneficiaries who reside in skilled nursing and intermediate care facilities."

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