CERRITOS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--CareMore has launched a new model of care to achieve greater integration between dental and primary care services. The hope is to improve access and outcomes for aging seniors, many of whom suffer from multiple chronic conditions, by bringing primary care to the dentist’s chair.
“We believe artificial boundaries exist around who performs primary care,” said Dr. Sachin H. Jain, President of CareMore. “Our goal is to amend this notion and build a primary care team without borders for the benefit of our patients. In speaking with them, we found that this was an area of opportunity to improve their health experience. Implementing this new model will help us to better support patients with chronic disease, and achieve even more coordination across all the settings where patients receive care,” said Jain.
Bringing innovative care integration to the primary care setting is part of the organization’s history. Behavioral health services, toenail clipping, wound care, and other programs exist under one roof -- the CareMore Comprehensive Care Center -- to allow the clinical team to address multiple health concerns on the spot. Patients come in for one health issue, i.e. foot or dental care -- and clinicians effectively assess and treat other conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. In this way, every clinical encounter is used as an opportunity to optimize management of chronic disease.
A new dental office in CareMore’s Comprehensive Care Center located in Montebello, CA is the first location for the integrated dental model. CareMore nurse practitioners will serve alongside dentists to help provide patients with continuous and integrated care for their chronic diseases when they present for their dental care needs.
The new model will be studied by Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) as part of the School’s Initiative to Integrate Oral Health and Medicine. As a research partner, HSDM will advise CareMore on development of processes, training systems, and technologies to integrate dental and electronic medical records systems. Together, CareMore and HSDM will analyze the resulting data to look for improved patient outcomes. The goal is to build a scalable model that uses dental care visits to optimize patient health.
“This is a unique opportunity to study the impact of integration in a large scale clinical model,” said Bruce Donoff, Dean, Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM). “At HSDM, we believe that dentistry is a branch of medicine and that a healthy person has a healthy mouth. Oral health professionals are often able to detect early manifestations of multiple chronic and communicable diseases. Armed with this knowledge, we can work with other health professionals to prevent and manage diseases that may become life altering for those who are disproportionately affected by complex diseases. Emerging evidence shows that better care coordination leads to better health outcomes and we hope to contribute to that body of evidence through this collaboration.”
The program and research collaboration with Harvard Dental School of Medicine is being led by Michael Leberman, Director of Practice Efficiency from CareMore; Dr. Jason Bae, presently of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, who will soon join CareMore; and Jane Barrow, Assistant Dean for Global and Community Health from Harvard School of Dental Medicine.
Jain, Donoff, and Brian Powers, of Harvard Medical School and Harvard Business School, previously published a blog (http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2017/01/19/bridging-the-dental-divide-overcoming-barriers-to-integrating-oral-health-and-primary-care/) in Health Affairs arguing for the need for more integration.
CareMore is a physician-founded, physician-led care delivery system and health plan that harnesses the power of teamwork to treat the whole person. Through a focus on prevention and highly coordinated care, its clinical model and designed-for-purpose approach to managing chronic disease proactively addresses the medical, social and personal health needs of its patients, resulting in clinical outcomes above the national average and ultimately, healthier people and communities. Over the past seven years, the CareMore Care Centers have expanded from one state to seven. And today, the CareMore delivery system provides care for enrollees in Medicare Advantage and Medicaid health plans in California, Nevada, Arizona, Virginia, Tennessee, Iowa, and Georgia. CareMore also is participating in a dual demonstration project in parts of Los Angeles County in conjunction with state and federal regulators to coordinate care for people eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. For more information about CareMore, go to www.caremorehealthsystem.com.