Partnership will increase access to oral health care and improve outcomes for this population
DentaQuest, one of the nation’s largest and most experienced Medicaid dental benefits administrators, today announced its new engagement with Partners Health Plan (PHP) to increase access to oral health care and improve outcomes for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD).
Partners Health Plan (PHP), a nonprofit managed care organization serving individuals with I/DD, selected DentaQuest to administer dental benefits and specialized services for its members. With the addition of PHP to its other government clients, DentaQuest now serves 63% of Medicaid enrollees in the state.
“We are honored to support Partners Health Plan in its commitment to serving adults with I/DD,” said Steven Pollock, president of DentaQuest. “We’ve long recognized the importance of increasing health equity for all, and health plans like PHP that focus on underserved populations are critical to making it happen. Oral health is often overlooked as more immediate medical needs take precedence, but as we know good oral health drives overall health and everyone can benefit from routine, preventive care. Innovative approaches, such as our industry-leading case management program, provide an extra level of support for individuals with I/DD and their caregivers to navigate a complex, imperfect health system to ultimately get the right treatment, at the right time.”
DentaQuest’s case management program helps identify appropriate resources needed to resolve a member’s issue – often unrelated to health care – and coordinates access to those resources with PHP care managers to ultimately achieve optimal oral health. Together, DentaQuest’s case management team and PHP care managers partner to secure transportation, medical clearance, sedation and anesthesia, hospital level care and other dental services. The collaboration between PHP and DentaQuest has led to a substantial increase in member utilization and appears to be addressing long standing access challenges faced by the I/DD population.
Launched in 2016, PHP develops and coordinates personalized life plans that ensure participants receive the essential medical, behavioral, dental, habilitation, and other services and supports needed. Dental care is the primary unmet need for adults with I/DD. More than 30% of children with I/DD are likely to have their first dental visit delayed, and in general, individuals with I/DD are less likely to receive necessary restorative care. Addressing this disparity is a critical component in impacting overall health equity for individuals with I/DD, as poor oral health can result not only in dental caries and gum disease, but can impact overall health, potentially leading to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
“The work we are accomplishing with DentaQuest shines a light on what is possible across the nation – people with I/DD deserve and can achieve lifelong optimal oral health and wellness when we create the right partnerships and invest in the right programs,” said Kerry Delaney, CEO, PHP. “We look forward to continuing our partnership and the measurable results we are seeing in dental care for PHP members.”
In the future months, PHP will also be piloting teledentistry and mobile dentistry programs in partnership with DentaQuest to increase access to oral health care for members.