In partnership with the Colorado Rural Health Center, 3 Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) gathered in Colorado Springs, CO on June 30 to kick off MORE Care: Colorado at its 1st learning session. Building on the MORE Care rural medical-dental integration work that began in 2015 with the South Carolina Office of Rural Health, RHCs in Colorado convened to begin the process of transforming their care delivery experience to include oral health as part of their patient’s healthcare. MORE Care looks to improve the oral health of patients living in rural areas through increasing the oral health preventive workforce, developing a shared responsibility in primary care for early detection of oral disease, and strengthening pathways for primary care providers to refer and communicate with dental providers.
The three participating rural family practices in Colorado were supported at the June learning session by staff from the Colorado Rural Health Center and DentaQuest Institute, as well as presenters and project faculty, including: Dr. Mark Deutchman, Professor of Family Medicine and Director of the Rural Track at the University of Colorado School of Medicine; Dr. Bill Bailey, Delta Dental Endowed Chair in ECC Prevention at the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine; and Anne Gibbs, from Cavity Free at Three. Throughout the learning session, MORE Care faculty and teams discussed not only why integrating oral health prevention into rural primary care is vital, but also how integration will be accomplished in each unique practice. Participants drafted adaptations to their existing practice workflows to integrate oral health competencies such as oral health risk assessments, self-management goals and fluoride varnish applications. Participating teams also learned about how to use improvement principles to guide their work so that they can determine if the changes they are making are having a positive impact.
MORE Care teams, In addition to testing changes within the primary care practice, will also be exploring and developing partnerships with nearby dental providers to coordinate care, improve communication and develop shared health outcomes of patients seen in both the primary care and the dental office.
As part of the MORE Care collaborative, teams meet regularly and are able to draw on the experience of like-minded peers and expert faculty to problem-solve and discover new ways of making oral health change ideas actionable. Participants in MORE Care Colorado are working not only with their peers in Colorado, but also on a higher level with peers in both South Carolina and Pennsylvania that are also participating in related MORE Care efforts. .