202321 Health care reform...reforming access to dental care

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lynn A. Bethel, RDH, MPH , Office of Oral Health, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Boston, MA
Donna E. Johnson, MSW, LICSW , Division of Primary Care and Health Access, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Boston, MA
Introduction: With more than one million MassHealth (Medicaid) members in Massachusetts and less than twenty percent of dentists willing to treat these residents promoting workforce opportunities in dental health professional shortage areas (DHPSA), as well as the state's safety-net programs is imperative. Methods: In July 2008, Massachusetts passed a law commonly referred to as “Health Care Reform II.” This legislation mandated among other initiatives, the development of a Health Care Workforce Center (HCWC) to expand initiatives to attract primary care health professionals to increase access to medical and dental services for the underserved and unserved, as well as other high-risk populations. Results: Through the development of a workforce video targeting newly licensed dental professionals and a HCWC website the state is promoting loan repayment opportunities, workforce surveys and reports, in addition to the integration of oral health with other health professions. These promotional resources will increase the number of dental professionals applying to work in the state's thirty-two DHPSAs, more than forty community health center dental programs and eight clinics serving the developmentally disabled. Definitive data on the number and distribution of dental professionals will be provided at the November meeting. Conclusion: Health care reform in Massachusetts has not only required all residents to obtain health insurance, it has creatively allowed the promotion of the state's loan repayment program to increase the number of licensed dental professionals serving high-risk populations.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the impact of health care reform on access to dental care. 2. Define health care workforce center and the integration of oral health with primary care. 3. Demonstrate a video developed to promote and expand the dental workforce serving underserved populations. 3.

Keywords: Health Care Reform, Workforce

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As Director of the Massachusetts Office of Oral Health I am responsible for promoting and expanding dental workforce through policy change and other intiatives.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Policies to Improve Oral Health
See more of: Oral Health