The new health care reform has several provisions affecting the future of oral health for Americans. These various provisions in HR 3590 and HR 4960 will be going into effect from 2010 to 2018. The American Dental Association made a strong presence during the passing of the bill to ensure the House bill contains provisions to improve oral health nationwide. The 2010 oral health care provisions focus on oral health prevention, oral health workforce, health care quality, public health infrastructure, insurance fraud and abuse.
The oral health care and prevention provision involves a five-year national oral health campaign focusing on educating the public on oral health and prevention of dental decay. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will be working with states to establish strategies like community water fluoridation, school-based sealant programs and programs for dental caries prevention.
The oral health workforce will provide support and development of dental training programs. These programs will afford high quality education and funding to students. A National Health Care Workforce Commission will oversee the workforce to ensure the supply and demand for oral health care workers is being met. In addition, programs are being established to make certain the delivery of health care services and patient health outcomes are improving.
The public health infrastructure provision will give grants and loan repayments to oral health care workers who practice in underserved populations, public health clinics and health professional shortage areas. This provision also gives an initiative to expand oral disease prevention to the workplace. The CDC will facilitate the establishment of employer-based wellness programs to educate on oral health.
Fraud and abuse of Medicaid by providers will be addressed through the reform as well. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will work with the Internal Revenue Service to identify providers that have evaded filing taxes. Arizona's Children Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is one Medicaid program that may be protected by this new provision. Protection of Medicaid funds may provide oral health care to more Americans.
For more information on the timeline and specifics in which the Oral Health Care provisions will take place, go online to www.ada.org/2389.aspx.
Dr. Rashmi (Rush) Bhatnagar, DMD, MPH, can be contacted at (480) 598-5900 or visit www.BellaVistaDentalCare.com.