Oregon Program to Expand Medical and Dental Collaboration

Dentistry Today
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The DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement and the Central Oregon Health Council recently brought together a group of medical clinic representatives to begin a two-year pilot of Medical Oral Expanded Care (MORE Care), a DentaQuest Partnership initiative, in central Oregon. MORE Care works to establish interprofessional oral health networks to integrate and coordinate person-centered oral healthcare in rural communities.

With funding provided by the Central Oregon Health Council, four clinics—Mosaic Medical, St. Charles Center for Women’s Health, St. Charles Family Care La Pine, and Weeks Family Medicine—from three participating PacificSource health systems will work to improve medical-dental integration by including oral health in their primary care workflows and creating a two-way referral system with providers. 

The clinics will also test ways of improving health outcomes for patients by integrating oral health in primary care settings. Strategies that might be testing include medical providers assessing and discussing oral health risk during wellness/preventive visits; staff at medical offices applying fluoride varnish with pediatric patients; and medical providers working with dental providers to improve bidirectional communication and referrals. 

Members of the Central Oregon Health Council’s Regional Health Improvement Plan Oral Health Workgroup helped bring MORE Care to Oregon, creating a unique opportunity for providers in central Oregon to change the system of care for Oregonians in a way that recognizes the importance of treating the whole person rather than individualized parts, the council reports.

“The initiative incentivizes and encourages relationships between primary care and dentistry that have not existed in the past,” said workgroup leader Mary Ann Wren.

This first of its kind partnership in Oregon between the Health Council and PacificSource creates the resources to invest in community experiments, like MORE Care, that help meet the Health Council’s mission of creating a healthier central Oregon.

“The DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement is excited to bring what we’ve learned through our first two MORE Care pilots in rural areas of South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Colorado to Oregon,” said Sean Boynes, DMD, MS, executive director of person-centered care. 

“At DentaQuest, we are committed to improving access to care and driving systems change. Medical-dental integration is an important part of that change effort, and we applaud the efforts of our partners in Oregon for helping to lead the change,” said Boynes.  

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