10:18 AM

Preventistry at Work: Alternative Settings and Provider Types

The traditional model of getting care at a dentist’s office doesn’t work for everyone. After struggling with transportation issues, not being able to get an appointment nor having the ability to pay for treatment, too many people have given up on dental care. Preventistry is changing that through our focus on alternative providers working in alternative settings.

To bring dental care to Medicaid members living in Oregon’s underserved rural areas, Advantage Dental (part of DentaQuest’s Care Delivery group) sends expanded practice dental hygienists (EPDHs) to community-based non-dental office settings like schools, WIC offices, juvenile detention centers, correctional institutions, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, community centers, and the homes of non-ambulatory members.

In Oregon, EPDHs (some states call them Public Health Dental Hygienists) travel with dental equipment on hand. Their EPDH license allows them to conduct oral health assessments, flag problem areas, apply fluoride treatment and, in collaboration with a dentist remotely, stabilize teeth that need repair.

Here’s how it works: The EPDH acts as an extension of the dental office, providing disease management and preventive care in the community setting. Patient information is transmitted to the dental office via HIPAA-compliant electronic dental records, and if needed, the dentist completes work that’s outside of the scope of the EPDH or that the community care site doesn’t provide.

Across the country, new models for alternative providers and care settings are being designed for patients in rural and outlying community settings. In places like Oregon, telehealth technology connects the local-based professional with a dentist for case consultations. This approach to care enables everyone on the dental care team to work collaboratively and more efficiently, all while putting the patient at the center of their care.

This is just one example of how DentaQuest is committed to serve members wherever they are. Through our Preventistry approach, we are increasing access to high quality care and more preventive services for communities in need. Check out this infographic to understand how this type of alternative care delivery has improved outcomes and lowered costs for Oregonians.