By Ralph Fuccillo, DentaQuest Chief Mission Officer and DentaQuest Foundation President
Earlier this month, we had the opportunity to participate in the Massachusetts Dental Society’s (MDS) New England Oral Health Summit to educate oral health professionals about the upcoming changes to oral health care delivery as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I was joined by my colleague, Dr. Robert Compton, DDS, DentaQuest Institute Executive Director. We were pleased to represent the DentaQuest Foundation and the DentaQuest Institute at the Summit and to collaborate with the MDS Foundation on this important issue.
The Summit encouraged oral health professionals and dentists to work together to ensure that everyone is 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.
More than 200 oral health professionals from across New England attended the summit to discuss what the oral health community can accomplish together. Participants spent the morning hearing from speakers about the current health care delivery environment and changes due to the ACA. In the afternoon, attendees interacted through panel and group sessions to talk more specifically about changes in how oral health care will be delivered, evaluated and reimbursed. Participants worked together to develop messages for dental care providers across New England about the future impact of the new health care environment on dental care delivery and how we must all be involved. The more of us that are at the table, the better.