As part of its mission to improve the oral health of all, DentaQuest is expanding access to dental care in three Florida Panhandle counties, all designated as dental health professional shortage areas (HPSAs).
Current data shows the region has 25% lower access rates than Florida’s statewide average. By working with its affiliate organization Advantage Dental+, four dental practices were opened over the last several months, ensuring the DentaQuest members in the region – including an estimated 30,000 children enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP – have access to dental care, education and support.
“DentaQuest is able to help state agencies and health plans better serve all their members with access to quality, prevention-first dental and vision care closer to home,” said Brett Bostrack, executive vice president and chief network officer for DentaQuest. “We focus first on building a strong network with existing providers, but in many regions – including the Florida Panhandle – there just aren’t enough providers to adequately support member needs. That’s where a clinical care delivery solution comes in, differentiating us from other dental benefits partners. We look forward to bringing access to members in other dental deserts over time.”
Dental deserts are areas with limited access to oral health care and are a segment of the broader, federal HPSA designations, which cover three categories: primary medical, dental and mental health. To be a dental HPSA, the population to provider ratio must be at least 5,000 to 1 (4,000 to 1 if there are unusually high needs in the community). There are currently more than 6,600 dental HPSAs nationwide that need 10,822 dentists to close the gap.
“This particular region in Florida includes four cities that have had limited access to necessary dental care, and, in line with our mission, we aim to remedy that,” said Todd Cruse, president of Advantage Dental+. “By putting the communities first, we will not only improve access to care, but also will deliver required results for DentaQuest by leveraging expertise in teledentistry and patient outreach to drive healthier outcomes that fit within people’s lifestyle and personal needs.”
The Crestview, Pace, Ft. Walton Beach and Pensacola practices will total approximately 44 dental chairs and collectively start with roughly 40 staff, including 5 dentists, to meet the region’s demand for care. At capacity, each location will serve 10,000 patients, with the exception of Pensacola, which will serve 18,000.
The new locations add to Advantage’s network of practices, which now include some 200 providers and 600 support employees throughout five states – Alabama, Florida, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington. Rooted in a unique philosophy of care called Preventistry, these practices focus on preventive and person-centered care to meet patient needs in, around and beyond the dental chair.
DentaQuest has served as the incumbent administrator of the Florida Healthy Kids program for more than 20 years, providing Medicaid, CHIP, Medicare Advantage and Health Exchange programs for more than 1.9 million dental and more than half a million vision enrollees across the state.
DentaQuest is a purpose-driven health care company dedicated to improving the oral health of all. We do this through Preventistry — our inclusive approach to quality care and expanded access built on trusted partnerships between patients, providers and payors. As one of the nation’s largest and most experienced Medicaid dental benefits administrators, we manage dental and vision benefits for more than 33 million Americans through a nationwide network of providers in all 50 states.
Our outcomes-based, cost-effective dental solutions are designed for Medicaid and CHIP, Medicare Advantage, small and large businesses, and individuals. At the same time, we are expanding our footprint of more than 70 oral health centers in six states to deliver direct patient care in rural and underserved populations.
About Advantage Dental+
Advantage Dental+ is dedicated to a mission: To improve the oral health of all. Our network of practices, comprise of nearly 200 providers and 600 support employees, are located throughout five states – Alabama, Massachusetts, Florida, Oregon and Washington. Strategically located in over 70 communities, our practice and outreach teams provide quality oral health care and education in, around and beyond the dental chair.
Together, we are creating healthy and confident smiles across the nation.