MINNESOTA ORAL HEALTH PROGRAM
Minnesota is one of 5 states (Virginia, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Nevada) participating in the School Based/School Linked Dental Sealant Cost Analysis project with CDC. The project team includes Susan Griffin, Dawn Arlotta, Kari Jones and Shilpa Naval of the CDC.
Minnesota was invited to participate because it has been identified by the CDC as being advanced in using sealant cost analysis tools developed by the CDC. The purpose of the project is to simplify the cost calculation methodology in the Sealant Efficiency Assessment for Locals and States Users’ Manual. CDC economists on the project will calculate the cost of equipment and the percentage that will be applied to the final cost of delivering a sealant.
The project seeks to develop methodology that will provide cost estimates per resource unit so that state programs do not have to do this on their own. For example, instead of requiring programs to provide the cost of a portable dental sealant unit and then to estimate the annual cost, the “cost calculator” will provide the annual cost for various pieces of equipment by manufacturer.
CDC has been given resources to work on simplifying the cost calculations. The MN Oral Health Program first completed a questionnaire in collaboration with sealant program grantees (June 20) to help CDC ensure they are including all relevant costs and then participated in a group conference call with the other states in the project. Once the CDC’s “cost calculator” is prepared, Minnesota will have the opportunity to review and provide feedback on the final product.
MINNEAPOLIS (July 15, 2013) - Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation has awarded $300,000 to the Minnesota Oral Health Coalition (MOHC) to support the coalition’s infrastructure and activities over the next three years. MOHC is a membership-based organization dedicated to promoting sound public oral health programs and policies in Minnesota. It was established in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health’s Oral Health Program and helped produce the state’s first-ever Oral Health Plan: Advancing Optimal Oral Health for All Minnesotans. MOHC has a 14 member Board of Directors, with 165 active community members from across the state and representing a variety of backgrounds and diverse organizations. Currently MOHC relies upon the volunteer commitments of its board of directors, stakeholders and members.
“The Minnesota Oral Health Coalition is well positioned to make an impact on the Foundation’s priority of improving the oral health of Minnesotans,” said Ann Johnson, Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation Executive Director and MOHC board member. “In order to maximize the impact, the Coalition needs to transition from all volunteer leadership to having paid staff dedicated to supporting the coalition membership and activities.”
MOHC intends to improve oral health in Minnesota through advocacy, public awareness, education and leadership development. Activities of the grant will include hiring staff and helping implement the Minnesota Oral Health Plan, with an immediate focus on education and outreach about the benefits and potential cost savings of community water fluoridation.
“The Minnesota Oral Health Plan is ambitious and we have a great deal of work to do,” said Deb Jacobi, board president for MOHC. “At this important moment for oral health in Minnesota, we couldn’t be more grateful to Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation for their support.”
The Minnesota Oral Health Plan serves as a five-year roadmap for future activities and includes four priority areas:
- Public Health Infrastructure
- Prevention and Education
- Health Care Integration and Access to Oral Health Care
Using the framework of the State Oral Health Plan, working groups based on the seven goals of the plan have been launched that include participants from across the state and embody an approach for building strong community involvement and relationships.
“A strong oral health coalition will bring stakeholders together to help Minnesota achieve its oral health goals," said Merry Jo Thoele, dental director of the Minnesota Department of Health's Oral Health Program. "This grant from Delta Dental will be foundational in its impact and will enable the coalition to achieve its full potential to improve oral health in Minnesota.”
About Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation – Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation is designed to support Delta Dental of Minnesota's mission of improving the oral health of the people in Minnesota. The Foundation will focus on improving access to oral health for people living in Minnesota, with special attention to increasing access among underserved persons, groups and communities as well as ideas and programs that provide innovative, long-term, sustainable solutions.
Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation was formed out of the proceeds of the 2009 sale of the dental benefit management company, DeCare Dental. Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation had assets of approximately $92 million and granted about $2 million in 2012.
Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Delta Dental is a registered mark of Delta Dental Plans Association. Delta Dental of Minnesota is an independent nonprofit dental services company and is an authorized licensee of the Delta Dental Plans Association of Oak Brook, Illinois. For more information, visit www.deltadentalmn.org
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently launched the National Oral Health Initiative (OHI) to support states in improving children’s oral health care access. The OHI, which calls for each state to develop a pediatric Oral Health Action Plan aims to increase the proportion of children enrolled in Medicaid who receive a preventive dental service and increase the proportion of children ages 6-9 enrolled in Medicaid who receive a dental sealant on a permanent molar.
To help states improve oral health care access and outcomes for these high-risk children, the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) launched the Medicaid Oral Health Learning Collaborative, with support from the DentaQuest Foundation. CHCS selected teams from seven states to participate in this learning collaborative initiative. Minnesota, along with Arizona, California, New Hampshire, Texas, Virginia, and Washington are participating in peer-to-peer learning, as well as individual and group technical assistance from national experts in oral health quality improvement. CHCS will support these states in meeting the OHI oral health care access goals. Lessons learned from the participating states, including lessons learned in Minnesota, will be shared broadly to aid additional states in advancing children's oral health access.
Merry Jo Thoele, MPH, RDH, Dental Director, Minnesota Oral Health Program, Minnesota Department of Health and Julie Marquardt, Deputy Director, Health Care Purchasing and Service Delivery, Minnesota Department of Human Services participated in the initial launch of the Medicaid Oral Health Learning Collaborative in Baltimore, Maryland, May 20-21, 2013. The collaboration between the Minnesota Department of Health of the Minnesota Department of Human Services is especially important to meeting the oral health needs of Minnesota’s children.
Although oral health care is included in Medicaid's Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment benefit for children, less than half of the nation's 30 million Medicaid-enrolled children receive any dental service in a given year. In Minnesota, 59% of children with Medicaid coverage did not receive any dental services by or under the supervision of a dentist during Federal Fiscal Year 2011. Barriers to oral health care access in this population include low rates of oral health care provider participation in Medicaid; the reluctance of oral health care providers to treat young children; insufficient awareness of dental benefits among Medicaid-enrolled families; and literacy and cultural barriers. By participating in the Medicaid Oral Health Learning Collaborative, Minnesota will gain knowledge to improve access to and utilization of oral health services for children enrolled in Medicaid, resulting in better oral health and overall health for our children.
The United States Senate unanimously approved Senate Resolution 182 congratulating the American Dental Hygienists’ Association on its 100th anniversary of the profession on Friday, June 21, 2013. Minnesota Senator Al Franken joined Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, Senators Susan Collins and Angus King of Maine, Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, and Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio to submit this resolution marking the importance of dental hygiene in the US.
MDH Radiation Control X-ray Unit protects and promotes radiation safety through guidance and collaboration with the radiation community. In order to reduce unnecessary radiation exposure from the use of ionizing radiation producing equipment, MDH has published the first X-ray Regulatory Guide for Dental X-ray Units. The guide is designed to describe the type and extent of a radiation safety program necessary for compliance with the Minnesota Rules Chapter 4732 for use of x-ray equipment in a dental office. For more information about x-ray safety and to view the new dental x-ray guide, visit X-ray Dental Facilities.
Abigail Franklin, MPH, joins the Oral Health Program as the Communications Coordinator. In 2009, Abbie earned her MPH in Public Health Administration and Policy with a concentration in Global Health from the University of Minnesota. She has great experience creating educational materials and implementing outreach activities. Most recently, Abbie was a program planner for the Newborn & Child Follow-up Unit at MDH where she coordinated statewide trainings for local public health partners, created parent and provider educational materials, and developed website content. She has experience as a classroom teacher as a Patient Educator at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center and as an English Teacher in the US Peace Corps (Moldova, 2000-2004). Abbie has a strong interest in health literacy and cultural responsiveness. She is using her skills to support the Oral Health Program in its education and communications activities.
As the Oral Health Program Prevention Coordinator, Clare Larkin, RDH MSEd, is utilizing her vast oral health knowledge and connections to the community to move school-based dental sealant and community water fluoridation efforts forward for the state of Minnesota. A licensed dental hygienist, Clare has extensive clinical experience gained in private practice and periodontal specialty offices. Most recently, Clare held an unlimited full time faculty position in dental hygiene at Normandale Community College. From 2003 to 2013, in addition to dental hygiene clinic, Clare taught the topics of head and neck anatomy, special needs dental client care, and community dental health for the dental hygienist. Clare currently holds a Community Faculty position with the Metropolitan State University / Normandale Community College dental hygiene degree completion program. She teaches a course titled Current and Relevant Topics for the Dental Hygienist. For 5 years, Clare was theDental Health Educator for Public Health Service of Goodhue and Wabasha Counties where she coordinated the school-based fluoride mouthrinse programs for all elementary schools in the two-county area. Clare now supports the school-based dental sealant grant program and community water fluoridation activities within MDH Oral Health Program.
Dr. Sahiti Bhaskara is a dentist by training currently pursuing a Masters in Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology at the University of Minnesota. Sahiti joins the Oral Health Program as a student worker to assist the team in implementing strategies from the Minnesota Oral Health Plan for tobacco control, tobacco cessation, and referral. She is also analyzing data to assess the costs associated with emergency room use for non-traumatic and preventable dental conditions. In addition to projects with the Oral Health Program, Sahiti is working with the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care to evaluate the impact of dental therapists on access to oral health care in Minnesota.
Dr. Peter Okwerekwu holds a degree in Dental Surgery from the University of Lagos. He practiced dentistry in rural and urban Nigeria. Peter is currently pursuing his Masters in Public Health in Public Health Administration and Policy at the University of Minnesota. As a student worker with the Oral Health Program, Peter is focused on determining the distribution of dental workforce in Minnesota and is developing data collection methods for the school-based sealant program. In addition, Peter is assisting the Minnesota Oral Health Coalition to implement strategies from the state oral health plan related to cultural responsiveness and diversity in dental health workforce.