Recognizing the changes to oral health care that will result from the current focus on health care delivery and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) convened an Oral Health Summit today. As leaders in the field, Ralph Fuccillo, DentaQuest Chief Mission Officer and DentaQuest Foundation President, and Dr. Robert Compton, DentaQuest Institute Executive Director, collaborated with MDS to educate current and future oral health professionals.
“Dentists from across New England came here today because they care about their patients and improving oral health,” said Fuccillo. “I am honored to join with the Massachusetts Dental Society Foundation in this day of working together to identify and create opportunities that are mutually reinforcing. Change is not easy and it is important to support one another as we chart new paths. Through our actions today, we are experiencing the concept of ‘collective impact’ – the sense of what we can accomplish together compared with the challenges of moving forward alone in the face of change.”
Fuccillo and MDS President Paula K. Friedman, DDS encouraged professionals and communities to work together to make sure that dental health and dentists are involved in shaping the future of health care delivery and reform. An estimated 1 in 5 (about 17 million) children go without dental care each year, but beginning in 2014, individual and small group health plans will offer essential pediatric dental benefits giving access to nearly 27 million children.
Dr. Compton, a nationally recognized leader on dental quality, dental reimbursement, dental analytics and oral health, provided a primer on how the federal government will be measuring care quality, costs and outcomes. “A goal of the Affordable Care Act is to improve health outcomes, improve efficiency of care and reduce costs,” said Compton. “The federal government has made it clear that they will be measuring and publishing information on quality of care. Dental care providers need to understand how HHS and CMS will be measuring quality.”
More than 200 dental professionals and others from across New England participated in the summit and brought a variety of perspectives to the table. They spent the morning hearing from speakers about the current health care delivery environment. The afternoon was spent interacting with a panel and in group sessions to develop messages for dental care providers across New England about the future impact of that environment on dental care delivery and how they can be involved.
“This Summit was a vision I had at the beginning of my Massachusetts Dental Society presidency, and I am thrilled that it has become a reality,” says Dr. Friedman. “The goal of this Summit is to educate current and future oral health leaders on the Affordable Care Act and other contributing factors that will have an impact on dentistry. Change is on the horizon, and system changes will affect many stakeholders. I see this Summit as just the beginning of the conversation and anticipate that the dialogue and action plan will continue over many years.”