February 28, 2022
The Community Oral Health Transformation (COrHT) Initiative aims to improve outcomes, lower costs, and increase efficiency in oral health care for underserved populations
CARY, NC — A new, collaborative initiative has launched to advance the shift to value-based oral health care for marginalized communities in North Carolina. The Community Oral Health Transformation (COrHT) Initiative is a partnership between the North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative (NCOHC), a program of the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation (FHLI), and CareQuest Institute for Oral Health (CareQuest). The COrHT Initiative will establish a learning community of safety-net dental clinics to share best practices, support a network of “champions” for change management at the clinic level, and help advance policy change in North Carolina.
Value-based oral health care describes a delivery system that incentivizes quality outcomes. It requires a shift from the traditional “fee-for-service” model, which focuses on the number of procedures performed. The COrHT Initiative provides an opportunity to advance this shift and reimagine what efficient oral health care looks like.
“Ideally, a value-based system would improve health outcomes, enhance the patient experience, and ultimately increase cost-efficiency,” said Dr. Zachary Brian, director of NCOHC and vice president of impact, strategy, and programs at its parent organization, the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation (FHLI). “The COrHT Initiative represents an innovative, collaborative opportunity to advance the shift toward value and serve populations facing serious disparities in oral health access and equity,” said Dr. Brian.
Participating safety-net dental clinics in the COrHT Initiative learning community will advance the shift toward value by embracing CareQuest Institute’s “Three Domain Framework.” The Framework, which includes contributions from more than 110 health leaders, focuses on: 1) tele-prevention (teledentistry); 2) minimally invasive care (non-surgical treatment of disease); and, 3) integration of oral health with overall health care, care delivered based on patient risk profile, and alignment of provider and patient values.
“Supporting the integration of oral health and primary health care, expanding the use of teledentistry, and advancing minimally invasive care are fundamental steps toward creating a more accessible, equitable, and integrated health system for all,” said Myechia Minter-Jordan, MD, MBA, president and CEO of CareQuest Institute for Oral Health. “We are pleased to be working with an incredible group of partners in North Carolina to advance the COrHT Initiative and implement the Three Domain Framework in support of community-centered oral health care.”
The initiative partners’ goal is to influence potential future workforce and payment reforms to support value-based oral health care and enhance dental-medical integration efforts.
The Initiative will consist of two distinct phases with NCOHC serving as the convener throughout. Over the course of the first phase, a diverse group of safety-net dental clinics throughout the state will participate in the learning community. NCOHC and CareQuest Institute will track learning community participants’ clinical and financial data to measure the impact of the Three Domain Framework implementation. In the second and final phase of the multi-year COrHT Initiative, NCOHC and CareQuest Institute will develop a comprehensive impact report designed to support in-state champions to sustain the work and influence long-term reform.
“This work will support clinics in community and stakeholders across the state to learn about and implement an essential paradigm shift in oral health toward a system focused on prevention and personalized care to improve long-term oral health,” said Katie Eyes, vice president, program and strategy for the Blue Cross NC Foundation. “This partnership between the NC Oral Health Collaborative, clinics, and communities — and building on CareQuest’s experience in other states – provides a significant opportunity to identify and act on barriers that keep so many people in North Carolina from quality, affordable oral health care.”
Funded by CareQuest Institute and Blue Cross NC Foundation, the North Carolina COrHT Initiative is modeled after CareQuest Institute’s successful COrHT program in Massachusetts and two previous pilot projects in Ohio and Arizona. The COrHT Initiative in North Carolina initiative is scheduled to run through September 2023.
About FHLI’s North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative
The North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative, a program of the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation, works to advance systems-level change, improving all North Carolinians’ overall health and well-being by increasing access and equity to oral health care. NCOHC seeks to influence policy, and through collaboration, listening, and knowledge-sharing, provide maximum impact in achieving optimal oral health care for all North Carolina communities.
About CareQuest Institute for Oral Health
CareQuest Institute for Oral Health® is a national nonprofit championing a more equitable future where every person can reach their full potential through excellent health. CareQuest Institute does this through their work in grantmaking, research, health improvement programs, policy and advocacy, and education as well as their leadership in dental benefits and innovation advancements. CareQuest Institute collaborates with thought leaders, health care providers, patients, and local, state, and federal stakeholders, to accelerate oral health care transformation and create a system designed for everyone. To learn more, visit carequest.org and follow them on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.
About Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation is a private, charitable foundation established as an independent entity by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina in 2000. Over the past two decades, the organization has worked with – and supported – nonprofit organizations, government entities, and community partnerships across the state, investing $173 million into North Carolina through more than 1,200 grants, collaborations, and special initiatives. Within its focus areas of early childhood, healthy communities, healthy food, and oral health, the Foundation strives to address the key drivers of health, taking a flexible approach designed to meet identified needs in partnership with the community. Learn more at bcbsncfoundation.org.
Dr. Zachary Brian, Director (NCOHC) and VP, Impact, Strategy & Programs (FHLI)