Partners Health Plan (PHP) is a managed care organization for individuals 21 years and older with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). One of their challenges was increasing access opportunities to considerate and compassionate dental care for their members. Individuals with IDD may struggle with a traditional dental office’s sights, sounds, smells, and sensations, which can cause anxiety, fear, and resistance. They may also have complex medical, mobility, and behavioral needs that require special attention and accommodation.
PHP wanted to find a way to bring dental care to their members with IDD in a convenient, unintimidating, and comfortable way. They also wanted to educate their members and caregivers about the importance of regular oral hygiene and preventive care and to establish an empathetic ‘dental home’ for them. PHP required a dental health program partner who could provide a strategic solution tailored to the special needs and unique constraints presented by adults with IDD community (and their caregivers.)
PHP partnered with Solvere Health to pilot a program to expand access to dental care for their members. Solvere Health is known for its systematic approach to optimizing a solution for each underserved community that requires clinical care. For PHP, Solvere Health applied its proven problem-solving, logistical planning, expert staffing, and in-field experience in the PHP strategy.
The ‘at a minimum’ goal for the pilot clinic was to provide specialized desensitization sessions to prepare individuals for the dental care experience, with an ambitious plan to deliver clinical services to patients who became comfortable in the clinical environment.
Fundamental to Solvere Health’s strategy was a mobile dental clinic staffed by a carefully curated dental team. Solvere Health understood that bringing a fully-operational mobile dental clinic directly to a location familiar to the patients would immediately remove a potential stressor on clinic attendees. And carefully selecting in-field staff with IDD-community experience (plus special communication skills and cultural familiarity) would improve the patient experience.
While flexibility, agility, and empathy are hallmarks of our solutions, these elements were doubly important for PHP’s members.
- When planning the event logistics and assembling the clinical team for PHP’s mobile dental program, Solvere Health took extra steps to accommodate the physical and emotional requirements of the patient population
- To source and secure patient community-aware clinical professionals, Solvere Health relied on its well-established network of experienced dentists, hygienists, and assistants with documented performance in a field medicine setting
- The Solvere Health team anticipated potential language barriers and recruited multilingual mobile dental program team members
- To support patients anxious about the mobile medical unit, Solvere Health stood up additional exam and procedure spaces in a pre-vetted area in an adjacent building
- The mobile dental unit dispatched to the event is part of Solvere Health’s growing mobile medical fleet of 50+ vehicles that are customized to each client challenge
- The mobile dental clinic contained all the diagnostic, operative, and preventative tools and supplies required to deliver comprehensive oral healthcare to patients with IDD (including a wheelchair ramp for those with mobility issues.)
The strategic group health solution was a rewarding collaboration for both PHP and Solvere Health. The program achieved the following results:
- The clinic exceeded expectations, providing more than desensitization sessions to patients, with all attendees receiving some level of dental care
- 100% of the patients who attended received a dental examination, some for the first time in their lives
- More patients than expected received cleanings, got xrays, and had cavities filled
- The inaugural clinic was a resounding success, and PHP booked another event shortly afterward
- Looking ahead, PHP and Solvere Health plan on a continued partnership as we share a mission to expand access to quality healthcare to underserved communities