Policy Priorities

Policy Platform

The following policy goals and recommendations are supported by CA-OPEN:

Increase access to affordable, comprehensive, and culturally and linguistically appropriate health coverage and services, that includes oral health services.
  • Support universal health coverage options to ensure all Californians have access to preventive, care management, and emergency services related to oral health care.
    Improve access to culturally and linguistically appropriate oral health services across all delivery systems including but not limited to Medi-Cal, Denti-Cal, managed care, fee-for service, private coverage, health clinics, expand funding for oral health system coordination, outreach and education, and navigation assistance.
  • Improve affordable oral health care options across the lifespan and across health care payers including commercial coverage, public programs, – institutional, rural, and disability care/elder care settings. In addition, support the addition of a dental benefit to Medicare.
  • Create a culture of providing safe, welcoming, and integrated oral health, and health care for patients and their families of all backgrounds, cultures, languages, and experiences.
    Improve oral health literacy for all communities with particular attention to reach vulnerable communities.
  • Strengthen the oral health infrastructure, by focusing payment systems on incentivizing positive oral health outcomes, ensuring timely access and network adequacy that includes delivering oral health services in the community.
  • Create a Denti-Cal system based on an evidence-based structure that incentivizes reaching underserved groups and providing prevention and early intervention care.
  • Ensure that oral health providers know how to access interpreters and are trained on how to work with them to facilitate effective communication.

Who We Are

Better integrate public health and oral health to reduce health inequities.

  • Increase access to and integrate clinical and non-clinical oral health preventive services to reduce dental decay and create life-long healthy practices.
  • Support access to clean fluoridated water, and ensure communities understand the benefits of fluoridated water.
  • Strengthen the connection between healthy food and beverages and improved oral health and create sustainable funding for nutrition and healthy food expansion programs.
  • Support efforts that promote living wages, economic security and employment opportunities, so that vulnerable communities such as immigrants, people with limited English proficiency, and people who are incarcerated and formerly incarcerated have the resources they need to thrive.

Ensure a diverse, integrated workforce to meet California’s health care needs.
  • Create and prioritize a diverse and trained oral health workforce that is better integrated into the overall health care delivery system and nimble to thrive within this system.
  • Ensure providers across the oral health field are trained in culturally and linguistically appropriate service (CLAS) standards of care and on anti-discrimination laws and practices.
  • Ensure that language interpreters in oral health are tested and trained in interpreter ethics, code of conduct and oral health terminology.
  • Create funding, environments, and opportunities to build interdisciplinary dental teams.
  • Continue to invest in improving state funding, such as loan repayment programs, to support a more diverse dental workforce.
  • Promote opportunities across health care delivery systems – through contracts and/or incentives. As well as medical, dental and public health schools, to train and educate providers about the links between oral health and overall health.
  • Work across agencies, departments, and commissions focused on workforce development to prioritize oral health.
  • Ensure that our current workforce members are working at the top of their licensure and expertise by allowing and incentivizing those most suited to do preventive and education work (such as dental hygienists, community health workers, educators, home visitors, etc, as appropriate) to provide those services, leaving more complex care to dentists.


Improve oral health systems to ensure better patient and population health.
  • Remove regulatory barriers that inhibit adoption of systems that reach underserved groups and provide prevention and early intervention care.
  • Incentivize the integration of oral health prevention and access across health, social services, education, disability care and elder care settings.
  • Ensure consistent and thorough data collection and reporting from federal, state and local government agencies, as well as health and dental plans and providers, especially on adult dental utilization that includes disaggregated data for racial and ethnic groups including Latinx and Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities.
  • Fund community-based organizations to assist with culturally and linguistically appropriate oral health outreach, education, enrollment and navigator assistance.
  • Support the delivery of oral health care–especially for underserved populations– in community settings, such as in schools, nursing homes, and other community settings, through the Virtual Dental Home and other models.
  • Improve and expand value-based oral health care and services.
  • Improve the measurement of oral health quality to ensure payment and performance is connected to improved health outcomes, patient satisfaction, and proper care.
  • Create opportunities and funding for care coordination across all areas of health, including but not limited to behavioral health.
  • Support the formalization of best practices and lessons learned from innovative programs such as the Dental Transformation Initiative and Prop 56 funding advocacy.