Learning Quality Assurance and Improvement Strategies in Oral Health Care Delivery Systems

The FDI is an international membership-based organization that acts as the main body representing more than 1 million dentists from around the world, active in promoting oral health. A recent study revealed the potential savings for the health system if efforts to detect chronic diseases in dental offices were increased. The CMS also supports the validation of two dental measures (sealants and continuity of care) for inclusion in phase 3 of meaningful use of electronic medical records, and the improvement of the measurement of the quality of dental treatment in the basic set of quality measures for children through the Pediatric Quality Measures Program. The CMS aligns the actions of agencies on dental care in Medicaid and CHIP with general efforts to improve health and health care and reduce costs. Community and clinical approaches have been proven to reduce oral diseases, lower the costs of dental care and improve people's quality of life.

However, these approaches are not being used to their full potential. In addition to the observed disparities in health status, there are inequalities in the number of visits to the dentist and the reception of clinical and preventive services. The IHSC develops oral health surveillance to quantify the prevalence of complex dental needs among the IHSC immigrant population by collecting and applying electronic medical record data. The CDC also links people and health care providers, including dental professionals, to resources to help patients quit smoking. Science has advanced significantly in preserving essential functions of teeth and other oral structures, as most dental problems are preventable.

Head Start regional offices use and analyze data to identify Head Start scholarship recipients and provide technical assistance to identify strategies to establish dental homes for children enrolled in low-performing states. The scope of Medicare dental care coverage is limited and, generally, dental care must be related to a covered medical procedure performed in a hospital. More than 4 million people receive dental services through health center programs, and dentists work in underserved areas through several federal and state programs. The CDC improves national oral health surveillance initiatives by developing measures for use in periodontal disease surveillance at the state and local levels; improves surveillance for dental caries, periodontal disease, dental fluorosis, and fluoride intake; and supports the oral health components of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. CMS, CDC and HRSA collaborate to identify measures that improve children's access to and use of dental sealants, such as providing funding for state oral health programs, strengthening technical assistance, and setting specific goals at the state level to increase the use of sealants among children enrolled in Medicaid.

CMS provides technical assistance to state Medicaid and CHIP dental programs to reimburse primary care medical providers for oral health services, including through managed care contracting agreements, on monitoring the provision of those services on line 12f of the CMS Form 416 (Annual Report on Early and Periodic Detection, Participation in Treatment) and on implementing strategies to convert doctor visits into referrals to dental providers to receive follow-up care.

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