Oral Health Care Services
One of the unique hallmarks of community health centers is the broad array of health care services they offer. For example, 36 of Massachusetts 50 community health center organizations operate dental practices in 48 locations throughout the state. What's more, many of those practices are expanding, while several health centers without dental services are embarking on projects to add them. Remarkably, as the demand for quality and affordable dental care has increased, health centers have responded by doubling their number of dental programs since 2000. In order to meet this growing demand, health centers employ more than 86 full-time dentists, 160 dental assistants, 42 dental hygienists and over 20 dental residents. All together, Massachusetts' community health center dental providers saw more than 130,000 patients and conducted over 381,000 dental care visits in 2009.
Community Health Center Dental Sites
Oral Health Initiatives
The League continues to work with multiple stakeholders to address issues related to medical/dental integration. For example, the League currently has four oral health projects that are summarized below:
- Strengthening the Oral Health Safety Net (SOHSN) is funded by DentaQuest Foundation. The League's role in this work is to provide national technical assistance (TA) and coaching to PCAs on oral health. The League has worked with 15 PCAs over the last 3-4 years. This is the final year of the initiative.
- The National Oral Health Integration and Innovation Network (NOHIIN) is funded by DentaQuest Foundation and represents the second phase of SOHSN. The initiative involves 13 additional PCAs working on oral health. The League's role is the same as SOHSN which is to provide TA and coaching and guidance at a national level.
- HRSA/DPH Linkages is a 3-year quality improvement project focused at 7 CHCs working on the integration of oral health and primary care. The League is a subcontractor through DPH which received a HRSA oral health workforce grant to do this work. The project has several initiatives which focus on the development of perinatal oral health guidelines.
- Clinical Connections Grant (commonly referenced to as the Qualis grant) is funded by DentaQuest Foundation. The League is in its second year of funding, piloting Qualis' oral health delivery framework in 5 additional CHCs in Massachusetts. This
grant focuses on the integration of oral health and primary care and on training primary care providers to screen, assess and refer for oral health issues.
- For more information, click HERE.
Dental Services Report - 2010-2011
In 2011, the League released a report on the 'Impact of Cuts to Medicaid and Commonwealth Care Adult Dental Coverage on Massachusetts Community Health Centers'. The report provided comprehensive data from all 48 health center dental sites regarding the level and nature of demand for adult dental services after the cuts; the strategies employed by health centers for meeting that demand; and the significant remaining gaps in access to dental services for the Commonwealth's adult dental Medicaid and Commonwealth Care populations. The goal of the report was to provide decisionmakers, oral health stakeholders and policy leaders with the resources and information they needed to restore all adult dental benefits, and promote the importance of oral health as part of overall health for Massachusetts residents.
- Impact of Cuts to Medicaid and Commonwealth Care Adult Dental Coverage on Massachusetts Community Health Centers
Click on the following resources:
- Pediatric and Oral Care
- Teens and Oral Health
- Oral Health for Diabetics
- Oral Health and Substance Abuse
For more information on this initiative, please contact Shannon Wells, the League's Oral Health Affairs Manager.