A new policy brief from the National Academy for State Health Policy outlines targeted strategies that states could consider implementing to meet the care needs of Medicaid enrollees who face particular oral health challenges (Source: “Increasing Access to Dental Care in Medicaid: Targeted Programs for Four Populations,” State Health Policy News, March 17, 2009).
The strategies in “Increasing Access to Dental Care in Medicaid: Targeted Programs for
Four Populations,” (PDF, 37 pages) are aimed at improving oral health care and access to services for four groups of Medicaid enrollees: young children, pregnant women, people with developmental disabilities and people living in rural areas.
The targeted policy steps outlined in the brief fall into four broad categories:
- Enhancing the training of dental professionals
- Broadening service delivery sites
- Enhancing state contracts
- Using existing safety net pathways
"Targeted interventions represent an achievable step that can be made in a difficult fiscal environment,” according to the brief. “The programs are limited in scope, which contains their total cost. They are also aimed toward populations that are recognized as being of specific concern to policymakers, which can make the programs easier to build legislative and executive branch consensus around. If a state can’t achieve comprehensive reform in one leap, targeted interventions can be effective incremental steps along the way.”