In partnership with the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health, 9 Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) representing two rural hospital systems in Pennsylvania, gathered in Meadville, PA on September 22 to kick off MORE Care: Pennsylvania at its 1st learning session. The purpose of the gathering was to begin a care delivery transformation that would allow practices to include or expand on oral health services as part of their patient’s healthcare in the primary care setting. 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 nine participating rural family practices in Pennsylvania were joined at the September learning session by staff from the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health and DentaQuest Institute, as well as presenters and project faculty, including: Dr. Eve Kimball, oral health advocate for the PA Chapter of the AAP; Drs. Joseph and LaJuan Mountain, Dental Directors at Family First Health; Christine Kavanagh, Nursing Faculty at Pennsylvania College of Technology; and Dr. Mark Deutchman, Professor of Family Medicine and Director of the Rural Track at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Members of the community were also invited to observe, and the group was joined by several students from Allegheny College that are interested in oral health integration.
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 or expand upon 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 developing new partnerships and strengthening existing 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.
Pictured: (from left to right) Kristine Tourkantonis, DQI Project Coordinator; Lisa Davis, Director of Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health; Kelly Braun, Dental Delivery System Coordinator, Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health; Sean Boynes, Director of Interprofessional Practice at DQI; Kelli Ohrenberger, Project Manager at DQI.