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MPCA Receives $1.2M to Integrate Oral and Primary Care for Kids

Thursday, August 15, 2019  
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The Michigan Primary Care Association recently won a $1.2 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to integrate oral and primary health care for children. The grant will be administered as a collaboration between MPCA, the Illinois Primary Health Care Association, the Iowa Primary Care Association, and the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers under the Midwest Network for Oral Health Integration (MNOHI).

 

“For far too long, oral health has taken a backseat to physical health,” said Dr. Faiyaz Syed, MPCA’s chief medical officer. “In reality, there’s a clear link between the two. Poor oral health can lead to a variety of other health problems, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.”

 

Getting routine dental care as part of a primary care strategy not only contributes to better health and well-being — it also saves money. Access to routine dental care is associated with lower overall medical costs. Integration, then, is an important component of cost-effectiveness.

 

The key to shifting the paradigm is starting young. MNOHI creates a system that encourages whole-person care, where oral health is an intrinsic part of one’s overall health. Under the grant, children ages 6 to 11 at five health centers in each participating state will be encouraged to enroll in a medical/dental home.

 

MNOHI builds on the National Network for Oral Health Access’s framework for oral health integration, which includes risk assessments; oral health evaluations; preventive interventions (i.e., fluoride varnishes, sealants); communication and education of health care providers and caregivers; and interprofessional collaborative practice.

 

In Michigan, the five selected health centers include:

  • Hamilton Community Health Network (Flint)
  • Ingham Community Health Center (Lansing)
  • Northwest Michigan Health Services (Traverse City)
  • The Wellness Plan (Detroit)
  • Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center (Hancock)

“In 2017, 42 percent of children between 6 and 14 years old did not receive any dental or oral health care in Michigan,” said Lindsay Sailor, MPCA’s integrated health program manager and oral health advocate. “This multistate collaboration gives us a real opportunity to set thousands of children on the path to good oral health.”

 

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This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1,283,000.00 with 0 percent financed with nongovernmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government.


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