The California Dental Transformation Initiative

Local Dental Pilot Projects


In 2016, California began it’s Medi-Cal 2020 Waiver Program. The aim of the waiver from the Federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) was to “transform and improve the quality of care, access, and efficiency of health care services for over 13 million Medi-Cal members.”

One of the components of the Medi-Cal 2020 waiver was the establishment of a $750 million Dental Transformation Initiative (DTI) the intent of which was to “improve dental health for Medi-Cal children by focusing on high-value care, improved access, and utilization of performance measures to drive delivery system reform.” One of the four “Domains” of the DTI was Domain 4 – Local Dental Pilot Projects (LDPPs) The goals of the LDPPs were to address the DTI goals through “alternative programs and potentially use strategies focused on rural areas, including local case management initiatives and education partnerships.”

College of Dental Medicine’s (CDM) Participation

The California Northstate University College of Dental Medicine’s (CDM) Office of Research and Community Engagement contracted with 4 LDPPs to support the development of the Virtual Dental Home system of care (VDH) within five counties. This work included developing partnerships with county designated “Lead Agencies”, dental care providers, advocacy organizations, and community sites such as pre-schools, schools, WIC programs and other locations to foster a system of care that “brings care to where people are”.

CDM also participated in a unique system to develop an electronic support system for community health workers (CHWs) and home visitors to enable them to act as front-line workers to identify young children at risk for dental disease, provide educational resources, and link them to further care. The Early Childhood Oral Health Assessment (ECHOA) is currently being transitioned to a new platform with the intent to make it available across the state.

In both the VDH and ECOHA programs, CDM participated in and led aspects of system design, provider and community site training, and on-going technical assistance and support.

DTI Evaluation: Symposium on Community-Engaged Oral Health Systems

On December 18, 2020, CNU hosted a Symposium on Community-Engaged Oral Health Systems. The symposium focused on lessons learned and recommendations for the future from two aspects of the DTI LDPPs. These were care coordination and the Virtual Dental Home System. Recordings of the presentations and panels from the symposium are available in the links below.

Also, in partnership with the counties where the LDPP VDH systems and the ECOHA programs were implemented and The Children’s Partnership a series of reports have been developed documenting the findings from these activities and recommendations. In addition, a report prepared by Children Now documents the results and recommendations from the complimentary work done by the LDPPs on Care Coordination.

The Symposium sessions included:

Topic Presenter(s)
Paul Glassman, CNU
Katie Andrew, Children Now
Jenny Kattlove, Consultant

Katie Andrew, Children Now
Stephanie Thornton, The Children’s Partnership
Susan Flores, CA Pan Ethnic Health Network
Mary McCune, California Dental Association
Rhoda Gonzales, CA Dental Hygienists Assoc. 
Amanda Willard, CA