CLINICAL

Oral Health

As health care trends toward providing more holistic, person-centered care, health centers and other care providers are perfectly positioned to find new ways to integrate oral health into primary care.

Oral Health Initiatives

Illinois Primary Health Care Association in collaboration with the Michigan Primary Care Association, Iowa Primary Care Association, and Ohio Association of Community Health Center collaborated to establish the Midwest Network for Oral Health Integration (MNOHI) through the HRSA’s Networks for Oral Health Integration within the Maternal and Child Health Safety Net grant to improve access to and delivery of comprehensive, quality oral health care for children. The MNOHI project will focus on children, ages 6 to 11, who live in communities served by community health centers. The goal of the MNOHI Project is for all children, in the population of focus, to receive oral health screenings during medical wellness visits and have an established integrated medical/dental home.

IPHCA was able to award nine health centers to carry out the project deliverables which consist of training staff through the Smiles for Life curriculum, implementing the oral health risk assessment during primary care visits, establishing referral guidelines for patients aged 6-11 years, and utilizing a population health management tool (if desired).

IPHCA was also awarded funding through the DentaQuest Partnership to develop models and advance knowledge around medical-dental integration specifically focusing on patients with diabetes. IPHCA will recruit FQHC programs with committed clinical staff (primary care and oral health leaders) to enhance collaboration as well as develop a bi-directional referral process for patients that are diagnosed with diabetes between medical/dental offices.

Lastly, IPHCA is working with the Illinois Department of Public Health through the Illinois Oral Health Workforce grant to develop a Public Health Dental Hygienist (PHDH) training plan, recruit and train registered dental hygienists committed to the PHDH model. The PHDH will work in collaboration with a sponsoring dentist allowing them to provide preventative oral health care services in public health settings without the patient first being examined by a dentist. It is anticipated that this will expand community-based prevention oral health services.

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