Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

Improving the Oral Health of Rural Veterans

According to a new report from the American Institute of Dental Public Health (AIDPH) and CareQuest Institute, veterans in rural areas are struggling to receive oral care. Only about 15% of veterans are eligible for dental care through the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), with the percentage being even lower for rural veterans.

Learn more in the full report.

New Research Explores Dental Care in Emergency Departments

The CareQuest Institute for Oral Health recently published research that explores dental care in hospital emergency departments. The research finds that most patients seeking care could be seen at a dental office for a much lower cost. Across the county, nearly 70% of emergency department visits for non-traumatic dental conditions among patients ages 21-64 are made by those enrolled in Medicaid or who are uninsured.

Click here to learn more.

CMS Announces Payment for Medically Necessary Dental Care

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that Medicare will begin making payment in 2023 for dental services necessary to identify and eliminate oral and dental infections prior to, and contemporaneously with, organ transplant, cardiac valve replacement, and valvuloplasty procedures. For services to be covered by Medicare, they must be performed by a Medicare participating provider. As part of the same final rule, the agency is establishing an annual process “to review public input on other circumstances when payment for dental services may be allowed.”

Click here for more information.

New Measures Assess Oral Health for Pregnant Persons

The Dental Quality Alliance released two measures that are intended to assess the extent to which pregnant persons are accessing the dental care delivery system. The measures also assess routine care that includes examination, risk assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning.

American Dental Public Health Group Launches Veterans Oral Health Initiatives

Did you know veterans experience poorer oral health outcomes compared to non-veterans? The American Institute for Dental Public Health (AIDPH) has been working hard to improve oral health for American veterans. Their latest initiatives include the Veteran Oral Health Dashboard and a veterans oral health listserv. AIDPH is also asking for help in disseminating their second survey focused on giving space to veterans to share their oral health stories. If you work with veterans, please consider sharing the survey. Veteran voices are crucial in education and advocacy efforts.

Click here to view the dashboard.
Click here to join the listserv.
Click here for the veteran survey.

Report Highlights Lessons from Dental Utilization During the Pandemic

The CareQuest Institute for Oral Health released a visual report examining dental procedure utilization during the COVID-19 pandemic, using Medicaid and commercial insurance claims data to find differences in trends by age and insurance type. The authors note a need for the oral health profession to maintain a state of emergency readiness to be able to provide consistent care in the face of future public health emergencies.

Click here to view the report.

Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Highlights Benefits of Community Water Fluoridation During Visit to Shippensburg 

Pennsylvania Physician General and Acting Secretary of Health Dr. Denise Johnson was in Shippensburg last week speaking to the safety and benefits of community water fluoridation. In the last few years, Shippensburg faced a fluoridation rollback threat that was overcome with the help of local oral health stakeholders. Dr. Johnson and the Pennsylvania Department of Health are encouraging water systems that do not currently fluoridate to consider initiating for the best interest of their customers. Executive Director Helen Hawkey and Public Health Dental Director Dr. Jonise McDaniel were in attendance.

Healthy Eating for Healthy Children: A Course for Dental Hygienists

The Oral Health Program at the Rhode Island Department of Health released a new online course to teach dental hygienists how to talk to parents and caregivers about food choices for children. This innovative approach focuses on using accessible and encouraging language as well as providing talking points and conversation starters to use with parents during dental visits. The course is free and takes approximately 80 minutes to complete.

Click here for more information and to take the workshop.

American Dental Association Launches Health Equity Initiative

The American Dental Association (ADA) launched a new Health Equity Action Team to help reduce disparities in oral health. Among the panelists is Dr. James Mancini, a Pennsylvania dentist and PA Coalition for Oral Health stakeholder. The ADA also published a Healthy Equity Resources webpage with resources for dentists to use to take action in their own communities.

Click here to read the ADA announcement.

Click here to view the Health Equity Resources page.