POLITICO Live: America’s Oral Health, an Emerging Crisis | DentaQuest Remarks

POLITICO Live: America’s Oral Health, an Emerging Crisis | DentaQuest Remarks


good morning everybody
I’m Steve Pollock I’m CEO at DentaQuest. DentaQuest is an organization that is
focused on creating a shift in paradigm to revolutionizing oral health it will
focus on prevention I want to thank Politico for their help
in organizing this morning definitely want to thank our panelists I think
you’re going to enjoy hearing from them and most of all I want to thank you for
joining us here for this important discussion for those of you listening in
DentaQuest is a double bottom line company, what that means is
that we have a business that’s focused on improving oral health we do that
through a focus on prevention that’s through value-based care through
innovation we really seek to get better outcomes at a lower cost for our
customers and there’s 25 million people across the country that we serve but we
also believe that everybody deserves a fair shot at oral health so we have an
important social purpose and we believe advocacy and policy play a really
important role and that’s really why we’re here today we believe that getting
more people involved in a discussion around oral health will help everybody
get access to oral health so I want to bring out Alison Corcoran to talk about
an important research report that we just issued yesterday it gives a
360-degree view of oral health in the United States and I think it will T us
up for a great discussion, DentaQuest is a great organization we have an
important values if I had to summarize them in two words I would say we’re all
in and I invite all of you to be “all in” on our quest to make sure everybody gets
a fair shot at oral health Thank You Alison thanks very much Steve and good morning
everybody in my work with the DentaQuest
Partnership I work with incredibly passionate change makers who are laser
focused on transforming the oral health care system to enable better health
through oral health and at the DentaQuest Partnership we do strategic grant
making we do research and analytics as well as pursuing a variety of care
improvement initiatives in collaboration with our partners many of whom are in
the audience today we are driving meaningful change at this local state
and national levels over the years our focus has been on systems change for
oral health advancing preventive care as well as exploring new models of
financing our research findings have informed our work and informed our
grant-making and our program development which is one of the reasons we did this
piece of research the other another reason is because I am the chief
marketing officer at dental quest I have a keen interest in an experience with
studies that explore public opinion that understand consumer sentiment and I
believe fundamentally that there’s always tremendous power in truly
understanding the way people feel about a topic and their underlying belief from
that understanding we can find those points of commonality that will help us
develop a path forward to better outcomes while we and others certainly
have developed studies in the past that have looked at oral health and explored
different stakeholders perspectives some of that data is old and none of it has
been truly comprehensive all done at the same time so as Steve mentioned we
identified an opportunity to sponsor a study that would provide a unique 360
degree view of the current state of oral health we worked with a team at KRC
research to design a survey that spanned five critical stakeholder groups
dentists some patients employers because they pay
for most of our oral health benefits and Medicaid dental administrators but also
because we believe so firmly in the power of medical dental integration we
also included physicians in the study having released the results yesterday
I’m happy to provide you a quick look at some of the high-level findings so there
is some bad news in the results but there is reason for optimism as well our
research confirmed that the current oral health system is failing millions of
Americans but that decay is reversible we found remarkable consistency from
patients from dentists from physicians from medical Medicaid dental
administrators and from employers not only on the problems surrounding oral
health in the u.s. but we found agreement on the potential solutions so
let’s take a look our our failing oral health system is a major public health
problem we know this because six in ten patients dentists physicians and
employers rate the health of Americans oral health as very poor poor or fair
and nine and ten Medicaid directors rate the health of Americans as poor or fair
and not only is our oral health poor the outlook for the future is currently far
from bright eight in ten physicians predict Americans oral health will
either stay the same or get worse and two and three dentists patients and
employers agree for me one of the most surprising findings is that three out of
four patients or 75% of those of us in the room say that we have encountered
barriers to getting dental care 3 and for those issues and barriers our cost
of care lack of insurance or various access
issues that like locked doors prevent people who don’t have the key from
walking in so the inability to take time off work to go to the dentist or lack of
transportation or for many Americans across the country simply the scarcity
of providers in their geographic area and most Americans are concerned about
their oral health half say oral health is their top health concern over heart I
digestive and mental health and the same is true for parents when asked about the
concerns for their children’s health so there’s also clear understanding of
the important connection of oral health to overall health this is one of the
exciting findings that I think is different than we would have seen a few
years ago as you can see nearly everyone agrees
that access to dental care is critical to improving not just oral health but
overall health and more than 90% of patients and dentists excuse me
physicians and dentists and 79 percent of patients recognize a tangible
connection between oral health and overall health including connections to
diabetes heart disease healthy pregnancies Alzheimer’s and so forth at
the same time there is a significant level of confusion about the benefits
that are available through public programs most Americans believe that
Medicare at 80% and Medicaid at 78% should include dental benefits this is a
widespread nonpartisan belief but as we know state based Medicaid programs
include benefits to a varying degrees and often only for children a majority
sixty-two percent of patients are either unsure or incorrectly believe that
Medicare currently provides coverage for dental benefits which it does not for
the ten thousand or so Americans who become eligible for Medicare every day
most experience a rather unpleasant surprise when they realize
that despite having paid into Medicare all along it does not offer dental
benefits these seniors have teeth and they vote so despite the negatives that
I’ve shared there is cause for optimism and here’s why all the shareholder
groups and stakeholder groups that we spoke to agree we can act now to help
improve the overall system everyone agrees on the importance and the
effectiveness of preventive approaches to improve oral health and overall
health so there is agreement on prevention first most dentists at 93%
physicians at 86% and employers at 82% agree greater collaboration across
medical and dental providers would improve patient care specifically
dentists and physicians agree that care collaboration can bring improved health
outcomes efficiencies and reduce the cost of care so there is agreement on
the power and the future in medical dental integration both patients and
then to see the value in taking care beyond the dental care chair expanding
care to locations outside of dentists offices including schools and community
centers so there’s an agreement on improving access and not only do most
American adults believe oral health should be covered in Medicare and
Medicaid most Medicaid dental administrators
agree that comprehensive dental coverage in public programs would help prevent
disease related to untreated oral health issues at 68% and improve the health of
their state populations overall so there is agreement on the need for and the
direction in adult public benefit and finally most patients physicians and
employers agree that oral health benefits should prioritize healthy
outcomes over the volume of services delivered so new payment approach is
based on value-based care is a point of agreement these ideas
aren’t new to us at denna quest we’ve recognized these problems and have been
working to raise awareness about the need to transform the system from the
inside out for some time through that all-in
approach Steve mentioned that we call prevent astray the survey confirms much
of what we believe and it’s satisfying to see that while there is strong
agreement on the issues and obstacles there is a shared view on the solutions
the findings are encouraging because they indicate that working together we
really can improve the oral health of all the system is indeed in a state of
decay but it’s reversible I encourage you to review the full survey report
it’s a very interesting and accessible read and there’s a lot more in there you
can go to dentaquest.com/ReversibleDecay and check it out so
thank you so much for your time this morning
thank you for caring about oral health and thank you for your continued
advocacy on the behalf of the millions of Americans for whom the oral health
system is currently failing and I know that we’re all going to learn and enjoy
the upcoming panel

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