Efforts to improve the coordination of health care for local Oregon Health Plan members took a major leap forward last fall when the InterCommunity Health Network Coordinated Care Organization (CCO) added dental care to its services.
“This is an exciting time to be bringing oral health back into the same circle as physical and mental health,” said Kevin Ewanchyna, MD, chief medical officer for the CCO.
Ewanchyna believes that developing a greater emphasis on preventive dental care will have a significant impact on the overall health of CCO members.
“Dental pain is one of the primary reasons for emergency room visits,” he explained, “And it often keeps children home from school and adults out of the workplace.”
The CCO is now contracted with four dental care organizations — Advantage Dental, Capital Dental, Moda Health, formerly known as ODS, and Willamette Dental — to bring dental care to its more than 42,000 members in Benton, Lincoln and Linn counties.
While dental care was previously available to some CCO members through these dental care organizations contracted separately with the State of Oregon, bringing it under the umbrella of the CCO will create more opportunities for collaboration between providers.
“Dentists and primary care providers have not historically worked together to address a member’s care,” noted Kim Whitley, chief of operations for the CCO. “The goal is to have them more aware of the issues they are each working on separately so that they can better coordinate care for patients.”
Whitley stated that the CCO will also be working collaboratively with the dental care organizations to expand dental services and access to its members in the future.