Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

Community Catalyst Pushes for Expanded Dental Coverage

Community Catalyst submitted a letter to the Biden Administration urging them to address the gaps and inconsistences in the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefits. Community Catalyst and 50 other groups, including the PA Coalition for Oral Health, signed on to the letter, which also called on the Health and Human Services and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to adopt several health care services into the Essential Health Benefits framework, including oral health care.

Click here to read the press release.
Click here to read the letter.

Non-Invasive Caries Therapy Guide Released

The CareQuest Institute for Oral Health published the “CareQuest Non-Invasive Caries Therapy Guide,” an illustrated manual of tips and tricks on how to perform evidence-based techniques to improve oral health for all. The goals of the guide are to increase access to care by decreasing resilience on invasive dentistry, transform the oral health workforce by empowering non-dentists to manage dental caries, improve clinical outcomes, and lower barriers to adopting evidence-based techniques.

Click here to read the guide.

New CareQuest Infographic Published: Oral Health and Overall Health for Older Adults

The CareQuest Institute for Oral Health and the Lunder-Dineen Massachusetts General Hospital MOTIVATE Program created an infographic that explains the importance of oral health for the overall health of older adults. The infographic also includes recommendations including more communication between physicians, dentists, and patients about the connections between oral health and overall health.

There are versions of the infographic available for both providers and patients.

Click here for more information and to access the infographics.

Oral Health Resource Center Fluoride Varnish Handout Available

The Oral Health Resource Center shared a new patient education handout,  “Fluoride Varnish for Adults: Q&A.”

This resource provides information that health professionals can share with adults, including pregnant people, about how fluoride varnish can make their teeth more resistant to tooth decay. The resource explains what fluoride varnish is and discusses its safety. It also addresses things to avoid after it is applied to teeth, how long it lasts, how often it should be applied, and whether it is covered by dental insurance.

Click here to download the resource.

New Report Released on Incentivizing Oral Health Care Providers to Treat Patients with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

A new report by the National Council on Disability, “Incentivizing Oral Healthcare Providers to Treat Patients with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities,” delves into three critical factors that impact the access and utilization of dental care services by adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Many individuals with I/DD face significant challenges in accessing high-quality, appropriate, and timely oral health care services. Among minority populations, adults with I/DD represent the largest group with unmet oral healthcare needs.

Click here to read the report.

New Resource Released on Integrating Behavioral Health and Oral Health

The National Network for Oral Health Access (NNOHA) released a new resource, “NNOHA User’s Guide for Integration of Behavioral Health and Oral Health.” The resource provides guidance on how to implement a behavioral health and oral health integration program. The guide includes a description of NNOHA’s systems-based framework for behavioral health integration, promising practices from community health centers, and workflow examples. There is also a readiness assessment to help community health centers determine their level of preparedness to implement a behavioral health integration program.

Click here to download the guide.

Updated Oral Health Risk Assessment Tool Launched

The American Academy of Pediatrics has streamlined their “Oral Health Risk Assessment Tool.” The tool is now accompanied by an intake form to collect pertinent patient information from parents/caregivers. An updated self-management goal sheet supports shared decision-making on preventing cavities and maintaining healthy teeth at home. The tool is available in both English and Spanish.

Click here to access the tool.

New Dental Clinical Practice Guidelines Released

The American Dental Association released a new clinical practice guideline on caries restoration. The new guideline includes sixteen recommendations for treating moderate or advanced caries lesions in primary and permanent teeth without a history of endodontic treatment. The guidance associated conservative approaches to removing carious tissue with a lower risk of adverse effects.

Click here to read the guideline.

A Mobile Dental Tour Will Provide Free Onsite Dental Services in Pennsylvania

Highmark and United Concordia have embarked on mobile dental tours across Pennsylvania with the expectation of caring for more than 1,000 children, young adults, and senior citizens. The tours will be providing free onsite dental services, including exams, cleanings, fluoride treatments, and oral cancer screenings to underserved communities this summer. The tours use volunteer dentists and dental hygienists from United Concordia’s network to provide dental services. If care in addition to onsite services is needed, referrals will be provided. Dental services for each tour require pre-registration.

Proposed Changes Have Been Announced to Oral Health Performance Measures

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is proposing to transition oral health from an NPM (National Performance Measure) to an SPM (State Performance Measure). HRSA believes that states are better equipped to measure and improve oral health than the federal government. This newly imposed rule may reduce the visibility of oral health, no longer presenting this issue as a national priority, which could lead to reduced funding and support. Comments on the proposed change should be received by July 5. Please submit your comments here.