Publications

The Impact of Federal and State Policy on Oral Health Care Delivery in Long-Term Care Settings

Author(s): 

Keely Walgama, Cynthia Wides, Aubri Kottek and Elizabeth Mertz.

Date: 
Nov. 21, 2018

Residents of long-term care (LTC) facilities have a significantly higher risk of poor oral health status compared with those living independently; moreover, the provision of oral health services to LTC residents is often limited. This study identifies and classifies state-level policies and funding sources for dental services that are available to LTC residents. The research details variability in coverage levels, payment sources, workforce capacity, and care delivery configuration, finding little coherence between policy and the needs of patients or providers. Reforms to address the oral health care needs of vulnerable populations in LTC settings should start with defining a clearer standard of oral care required for this population. This will allow best practices in policy, practice, and accountability to be structured around care that improves patients' oral health.