Combining medical and dental care has benefited patients of Wisconsin's Marshfield Clinic, which takes the somewhat unusual approach of combining EHRs for both disciplines, and the health system also operates 10 dental care facilities in the state. Delta Dental of Wisconsin supported the EHR integration, which experts say leads to healthier patients.
Medicare does not pay for dental checkups and certain oral health procedures, but 51% of people surveyed by the Washington Dental Service Foundation thought preventive dental services were covered or were unsure. Some Medicare Advantage plans do cover such care, but oral surgeon Nick Freuen recommends patients plan for future dental care costs in retirement, regardless of whether they have insurance that covers some dental care.
People shopping for dental insurance should consider their dental care needs, annual payout limits and what is covered, according to finance writer Marilyn Lewis. Dental costs can rise rapidly in the face of such major procedures as crowns, bridges and dentures, she writes, but plans typically cover a portion of those costs as well as the full cost of preventive services such as exams and periodic X-rays, NADP says.
Students at the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry will staff a new clinic in Chattanooga that college Dean Timothy Hottel hopes will encourage recent graduates to donate time every month to treating underserved populations. Access to care is a problem in the state, but DentaQuest, which manages pediatric dental benefits for TennCare, works to ensure each enrolled child has a dental home.
Scientists at Toronto's York University found that a noninvasive infrared camera in conjunction with basic laser technology was able to detect early dental caries. Researcher Nima Tabatabaei said the system would be initially available to dental offices, but iOS and Android mobile technology for consumer use would follow.
A study in the journal Nature Communications found that temporomandibular joint stem cells proliferated and grew into cartilage and bone in mice. Researcher Mildred Embree said treatment options for TMJ disorders are lacking, and her team hopes to develop a drug that can be injected into the joint.
NADP recently published the 2015 NADP/LIMRA U.S. Group Dental Claims Processing Metrics Report, which provides dental carriers with industry-specific performance benchmarks for claims processing. The publication is now available in the "Statistical Reports" section of the NADP Knowledge Center. For dental plan members, the report is offered as a membership benefit and for all other members, the report is available at a preferred member discount. Log in to receive the appropriate member price.
Join NADP Oct. 18 at 1 p.m. Central Time for a 60-minute educational webinar, Dental in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). Panelists include Julie Bluhm, Health Clinical Manager at Hennepin County, and Gretchen Hageman of Delta Dental of Iowa. For information and to register, visit the Knowledge Center.