Established in 2014, the My Health LA (MHLA) program provides medical care to Los Angeles County residents who do not have and cannot get health insurance. As My Health LA expands its primary care services, some community clinics want to also expand their dental services, but some sites cannot because they are not physically connected to the building where primary care services are provided. To close this loophole, today the Board of Supervisors approved a motion, authored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, that revises the My Health LA agreement to allow these clinics to provide dental care services.
“When families cannot access affordable dental services, they feel forced to go without it. Children are the most vulnerable when their parents struggle to provide them with affordable health care. A child suffering from a toothache cannot focus on schoolwork,” said Supervisor Solis. “Dental care is important, especially for children and older adults. Teeth can actually exacerbate other medical conditions, including heart disease and coronary problems. I am proud that we are the only county in the country offering free health care to the uninsured. My Health LA is a gem in the County’s health care service system, and a model for other jurisdictions to replicate.”
Nonprofit clinics, also known as “Community Partners,” provide My Health LA patients health care services. My Health LA has over 200 Community Partner clinics throughout the County. This program ensures that County residents who are not eligible for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act, or other publicly financed program, receive medical and dental care services.
My Health LA’s current agreement allows for the addition of new dental sites only if these locations are physically connected to the building where primary medical care services are rendered. In some situations, MHLA’s agreement allows the dental site to be near the primary care facility and not necessarily inside of the clinic. In these cases, however, MHLA is not contractually obligated to include these dental sites in MHLA’s program; this limits My Health LA’s ability to expand dental services to some new clients. Today’s motion directs the My Health LA program to revise the definition of a Clinic Site to include dental care service providers that are not physically connected to primary care services.
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