ADHA welcomes IOM Report

July 14, 2011
Report deas with improving access to oral health care.

CHICAGO, Illinois--The investigation into ways to increase the public’s access to oral health care has continued to build momentum as the Institute of Medicine released its report, "Improving Access to Oral Health Care for Vulnerable and Underserved Populations."

This report was the result of more than a year of effort by an IOM appointed committee to examine the evidence regarding the disparities in access to oral health care in this nation and issue a call for a renewed commitment to tackling this challenge.

The report—compiled by a diverse committee representing the dental, public health, and medical communities, after hearing the input of a variety of stakeholders including ADHA—issues 10, wide-ranging recommendations designed to help end the access to oral health care crisis.

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Among the recommendations were calls to integrate oral health care into overall health care and to allow allied dental professionals to practice to the full extent of their education and training in a variety of settings under evidence-supported supervision levels.

The report also recommends Congress, the Department of Health and Human Services, federal agencies, and private foundations fund oral health research and evaluation related to underserved and vulnerable populations, including:

* New methods and technologies (e.g., nontraditional settings, nondental professionals, new types of dental professionals and telehealth)
* Measures of access, quality, and outcomes
* Payment and regulatory systems

“On behalf of ADHA, I salute the IOM committee for its efforts in generating this report. The recommendations provide a flexible, comprehensive system of evidence-based solutions that will go a long way in addressing the access crisis,” said ADHA President Pam Quinones, RDH, BS.

“The recommendations outlined in the report confirm the need for many efforts that are currently underway and chart the course for new, forward-thinking innovations that oral health stakeholders, along with policymakers, can work towards collaboratively.”

The release of the IOM report follows the release of another oral health report, Advancing Oral Health in America, in April 2011. Both studies were funded, in part, by the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency within HSS.

“The ongoing commitment from HRSA in the area of oral health is encouraging, as the agency continues to promote an integrated approach to health care delivery and highlight oral health as a part of total health,” noted Quinones.

The full IOM report as well as an executive summary and information about the committee charged with developing the report is available online at:

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