Improving outcomes for pregnant women and people with diabetes
Can expanding dental care access for expectant mothers and people with diabetes improve overall health outcomes? Beginning in January 2019, the state launched Oral Health Connections, a three-year pilot program that aims to expand oral health care access for pregnant women and people with diabetes to produce better health outcomes. Gum disease can contribute to diabetes complications and has been linked to unfavorable birth outcomes in newborns. Improved oral health will help patients manage their diabetes and contribute to a healthy pregnancy.
The Oral Health Connections pilot will link Apple Health-insured pregnant women and patients with diabetes with dental care in their community. The model is based on the nationally-recognized Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD) program. The Oral Health Connections program will operate in three pilot counties: Thurston, Spokane, and Cowlitz.
In partnership with the Arcora Foundation and local health organizations, the pilot project includes training and enhanced reimbursements for providers treating eligible patients and care coordination. Studies show that pregnant women and people with diabetes who have regular dental visits experience fewer medical complications and shorter hospital stays than those who do not.
Oral Health Watch supports the Oral Health Connections pilot program and other innovative approaches to reduce health disparities among Washington state’s most vulnerable and underserved populations.
Click here to tell legislators that you support innovations like the Oral Health Watch Connections pilot.