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Qualis Health Publishes Actionable Framework for Integrating Oral Health in Primary Care

Posted on Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Seattle, WA (PRWEB) June 16, 2015 – Qualis Health, one of the nation’s leading population healthcare management organizations, has published a white paper, “Oral Health: An Essential Component of Primary Care”, which makes the case for delivering preventive oral health care as a component of routine medical care and enhancing partnerships between primary care and dentistry. 


“Oral disease is largely preventable, and can complicate the management of other chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease that are regularly encountered in primary care,” said Jonathan Sugarman, MD, MPH, Qualis Health President and CEO. “Engaging primary care teams in oral health is a critical strategy for reducing the impact of oral diseases and improving population health.”

Oral health is essential for healthy development and healthy aging, yet nationwide there is an unacceptably high burden of oral disease. Delivering preventive oral health care in the primary care setting will expand access for nearly all patients, particularly high-risk and vulnerable patients. Primary care teams have the skills necessary to understand and intervene in the oral disease process; the relationships needed to engage patients and families in oral health self-care; and a structure for coordinating referrals to dentistry and supporting patients during transitions of care. The Oral Health Delivery Framework delineates the activities for which a primary care team can take accountability to protect and promote oral health. These activities are within the scope of practice for primary care; and if organized efficiently, can be integrated into the office workflow of diverse practice settings. The white paper also includes examples from practices that have successfully begun integration. Following field-testing of the framework, a complete oral health integration guide for primary care practices will be published in 2016.

The Oral Health Delivery Framework was developed in partnership with a panel of experts, including primary care and dental care providers; leaders from medical, dental, and nursing associations; payers and policymakers; a patient and family partnership expert; and oral health and public health advocates. It has been endorsed by a broad array of organizations, including: American Association for Community Dental Programs, American Association of Public Health Dentistry, American College of Nurse Midwives, American Public Health Association–Oral Health Section, Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors, Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, National Network for Oral Health Access, National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, and Physician Assistant Education Association.

The publication is sponsored by the National Interprofessional Initiative on Oral Health, and supported by DentaQuest Foundation, the REACH Healthcare Foundation, and Washington Dental Service Foundation.

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