New Legislation to Strengthen ABCD Program Takes Effect June 11

New Legislation to Strengthen ABCD Program Takes Effect June 11

WSDA was pleased to support two pieces of legislation that were signed into law this year to strengthen the Access to Baby & Child Dentistry (ABCD) program.

WSDA was pleased to support two pieces of legislation that were signed into law this year to strengthen the Access to Baby & Child Dentistry (ABCD) program. The ABCD program connects low income families with local dentists who are trained to care for children under six. The program has helped connect children to dental care in Washington for over 20 years.

In 2018, the legislature passed Substitute Senate Bill (SSB) 6549, which expanded the ABCD program to include children with disabilities through age 12 to ensure that these children were able to continue receiving comprehensive dental benefits. However, language regarding eligibility included in the original legislation was too broad and the Health Care Authority (HCA) was unable to obtain approval from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for the expanded population. This year, the legislature passed SSB 5976, which clarified eligibility language for the expanded ABCD program to require that eligible children meet clinical criteria established by the HCA in order to ensure funding for the expanded population.

The second measure, Substitute House Bill (SHB) 2905, appropriates state funding to increase outreach and support to local ABCD programs and providers. The increased funding provided for engagement is intended to bolster program participation with children of color and children under the age of two. SHB 2905 directs the HCA to determine target metrics and key deliverables for outreach and engagement. The HCA is also tasked with monitoring progress toward increasing the percentage of children under age two receiving care and reducing the racial and ethnic disparities in access to care.

Both laws take effect June 11, 2020.

Learn more about the ABCD program at abcd-dental.org.

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