13:27 PM

Committed to Health Equity

By: Ralph Fuccillo, DentaQuest Chief Mission Officer

DentaQuest’s mission of improving the oral health of all includes an obligation to ensure equitable access to oral health care and prevention. We believe everyone should have the opportunity to live a healthy life regardless of their background.

During April, the U.S. Office of Minority Health recognizes National Minority Health Month to raise awareness about health disparities that affect people across this nation and to familiarize the public with the healthcare law's groundbreaking policies to reduce disparities and achieve health equity.

This includes oral health. Every day, millions in America do not receive the oral health care they need for various reasons, including cultural, ethnic or language barriers, lack of oral health education, no insurance access, age or medical issues, geographic and transportation obstacles, and even roadblocks to accessing qualified oral health professionals.

Whatever the reason, the costs of inequity – with 51 million school hours and 164 hours of work missed due to due to dental problems and visits – are staggering.

As a leading U.S. oral health company, DentaQuest is in a unique position to make a difference. We serve 18 million individuals from all walks of life through Medicaid, CHIP, Medicare Advantage, commercial and individual plans. We make a particular effort to reach those who are most in need by:
  • Sponsoring outreach programs focused on education and prevention through community ambassadors and local languages;
  • Supporting programs that provide dental care for adults and children with intellectual and physical disabilities;
  • Providing customer care in multiple languages for our members;
  • Ensuring safety net dental programs in community health centers across the U.S. are prepared to provide for the large numbers of individuals who will become eligible for dental services through the ACA, including 20 million children through the essential pediatric dental benefit, in 2014;
  • Co-chairing the Region 1 Health Equity Council and making sure oral health is addressed ; and
  • Advancing local leaders in 25+ states through the Oral Health 2014 Initiative, which was created to ensure oral health is part of state and community health policy.
All of us at DentaQuest are committed to removing barriers to care by emphasizing prevention and celebrating differences among our colleagues and community partners.

To learn more about National Minority Health Month and find events in your communities to become involved in health equity, visit: http://minorityhealth.has.gov/actnow/.