Strengthening Oral Health Care

In 2012, the REACH Foundation provided a $40,000 grant to Safety Net Solutions, a program of the nonprofit DentaQuest Institute, to provide in-depth oral health practice management technical assistance to three safety net dental programs in the Foundation’s service area.

Established in 2006, Safety Net Solutions has worked with more than 200 safety net dental programs in 24 states to guide improvements that lead to improved use of resources, financial strength and oral health outcomes.

Health Partnership Clinic of Johnson County and Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center, both federally qualified health centers, and Cass County Dental Clinic, a stand-alone dental clinic, were invited to participate in the technical assistance program in 2012.

Through the project, Safety Net Solutions consultants work with clinics to assess all aspects of their dental program operations, from staffing levels and composition, to patient flow, reimbursement, billing and service delivery. Clinics gain greater understanding of their patient demographics, staff productivity, fee schedules, payor mix, transaction costs and other factors that impact the cost, delivery and sustainability of dental services.

Once a practice enhancement plan is developed, the consulting team assists clinic staff with collecting and reviewing data to ensure the clinics are achieving key financial, operational and quality performance indicators. The program is set up to provide data collection and review for two years.

Given the dental care access challenges in Kansas and Missouri, this effort aims to help safety net providers successfully balance mission and business to achieve patient care goals and improve long-term sustainability.