Advocacy

Workforce Innovation and Access to Care

There is an oral health crisis in our country.

 

More than half of low income children and two-thirds of adolescents between 12 and 19 years of age have dental decay. (1)

In 2011, 33.3 million unserved individuals lived in areas without enough dentists to serve the needs of the population. (2)

The crisis is multifaceted, but a shortage of providers in rural and inner city areas is a large piece of the puzzle. NNOHA supports dental teams being able to expand access to oral health care in safe, quality and cost-effective ways.

Several states have add new oral health team members, one state is using technology to adapt the reach the current oral health team, and the ADA is piloting a health coordinator model that focuses on oral health in several communities. Other states are utilizing the experience of these early adapters and discussing how to best meet the needs of their state.

 

Access Research and Information:

 

In Search of Dental Care, 2013

Description

This report from Pew Children’s Dental Campaign examines the lack of access to dental care, especially for low-income children and families, in the United States. It also explores the strategies states are employing—particularly the expansion of the dental team by licensing additional types of providers—to address workforce shortages and serve low-income children.
Website

 

Teledentistry Research and Information:

 

Webinar: Using Telehealth to Bring Dental Care to Community Settings:
From Pilot to Policy

Description

In September 2014, California signed into law A.B. 1174. The intent of the bill is to expand, statewide, components of a pilot program that has allowed dental professionals to provide additional functions in community settings as part of a telehealth-enabled dental care team. The pilot program is the Virtual Dental Home system, developed almost five years ago by the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, University of the Pacific. It creates a community-based oral health delivery system in which people receive preventive and simple therapeutic services in community settings where they live or receive educational, social or general health services. It utilizes the latest technology to link practitioners in the community with dentists at remote office sites.
This webinar, hosted on January 22, 2015 for the Strengthening the Oral Health Safety Net Initiative, walks through the policy process in getting this bill passed, identifying the policies that needed to be changed, how the bill moved through the legislative process and lessons that were learned at the end of the process. A pilot project participating Health Center dental director also discussed her experience of being part of the program.

 

Virtual Dental Home Demonstration Project

Description

This webpage contains information on the University of the Pacific Dugoni School of Dentistry Virtual Dental Home pilot project.
Website

 

Using Telehealth Technologies to Improve Oral Health for Vulnerable and Underserved Populations

Description

Published in the CDA Journal, this article explains the developing use of technology in providing medical care, and how these technologies are being used in dentistry. Examples provided include the Virtual Dental Home pilot project in California and Apple Tree Dental in Minnesota.
Website

 

The Virtual Dental Home: Implications for Policy and Strategy

Description

This article from the Journal of California Dental Association explores how the use of the virtual dental home model can be used to bring care to under-served populations. It also addresses the potential difficulties of implementation such as financing and training.
Website

 

Dental Therapists Research and Information:

 

Webinar: Midlevel Dental Providers: One Approach to Expanding Access to Care

Description

Dentist shortages, lack of dental insurance, and too few dentists accepting Medicaid have contributed to a lack of access to oral health care across the country, especially for the underserved. As a result, innovative ways of delivering oral health care are emerging. One approach to improving access is the creation of the midlevel dental provider. Midlevel providers are currently practicing in Alaska and Minnesota and have been recently authorized in Maine. This NNOHA webinar, hosted on June 30, 2015, explores the factors that are behind the dental care access problem in the U.S. and explains the four midlevel provider models that are being used in parts of the country to expand access to care. An update about current state laws and legislative interest from the states is also explained. The recording includes the question and answer segment of the webinar with dentists who have worked directly with midlevel providers in Alaska and Minnesota.

 

Economic Viability of Dental Therapists, May 2013

Description

This report Prepared by: Frances M. Kim, DDS, DrPH for Community Catalyst assesses the work of dental therapists in both Alaska and Minnesota and details the percentage of time spent on different categories of procedures, the characteristics of the population base they serve, and the overall cost to the practice of employing dental therapists.
Website

 

Dental Therapists in New Zealand, May 2013

Description

This brief published by the Pew Children’s Dental Campaign provides an overview of New Zealand’s use of dental therapists to provide care for children, and offers insights for U.S. policymakers about how midlevel providers can expand children’s access to dental care.
Website

 

Working with Midlevel Providers: Dentists Perspectives, April 2013

Description

These two videos provided by Pew Children’s Dental Campaign provide the perspective of two dentists currently working with dental therapists.
Website

 

Community Dental Health Coordinators Research and Information:

 

ADA About the Community Dental Health Coordinators

Description

This website provides information on the American Dental Association’s pilot of the Community Dental Health Coordinator. Resources include information on the background of the provider model, education of providers, and frequently asked questions.
Website

 

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