Oral Health Focus 2020 is the New Mexico Dental Associations new campaign to identify concrete and specific policy, practice and funding objectives with the goal of improving the oral health and access to dental care across the state by the year 2020. Oral Health Focus 2020 will serve as both a roadmap and a timeline for Association activities to achieve success in a timely and reasonable way. It will act as a challenge to policy makers to make concrete progress toward addressing important issues to improve access to dental care.
Oral Health Focus 2020 consists of twelve general recommendations in four categories. Each recommendation is further broken into prioritized steps to allow incremental development and gauge progress. Many of the issues that affect access are deeply rooted in our cultures and society and not easily overcome. There are not simple solutions. But, ultimately, the health and well-being of many people are dependent upon the realization of these goals over the next seven years. As professionals, dentists make a commitment not only to the care of their own patients, but to take responsibility for the health of their communities. This initiative is a cooperative effort by New Mexico’s dentists to improve access to dental care in New Mexico.
PREVENTION & PUBLIC HEALTH
Focus # 1: Implement a statewide incentive program for community water fluoridation.
Focus #2: Establish a qualified dentist as New Mexico State Dental Director and empower him or her to create an effective preventive dental public health program
Focus #3: Establish a requirement that children have a documented dentist’s examination prior to enrolling in school in New Mexico.
Focus #4: Reform and expand Medicaid to streamline claim submission, provide improved benefits for adults and seniors, and reimburse at reasonable market-justified rates.
Focus #5: Establish a dental benefits “bill-of-rights” to assure that patients may see the dentist they choose without inappropriate coercion or penalties.
Focus #6: Remove gross receipts tax from all non-elective health care services
Focus #7: Fund grants for all students accepted into dental schools through WICHE or contract equivalents
Focus #8: Establish a BA/DDS program to recruit, nurture and support NM students through dental school and encourage diversity.
Focus #9: Construct public health infrastructure to recruit faculty and support clinical externships during transition from out-of-state to in-state dental school.
PRACTICE AND WORKFORCE
Focus #10: Initiate or expand existing loan repayment or scholarship programs for up to the entire cost of dental school in exchange for practice in highly underserved areas.
Focus #11: Utilize a demonstration project in cooperation with underserved NM communities to investigate the use expanded function dental “mid-levels” of various models to facilitate care.
Focus #12: Establish Community Dental Health Coordinator training programs in conjunction with at least one accredited dental assisting and one dental hygiene program.