The Future of Payment for Dental Care
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Purpose of Review
To examine the literature on dental reimbursement methods, with emphasis on paying for value (e.g., health care outcomes) rather than procedure. To make recommendations that would facilitate the expansion of access to dental care for those most in need and improve the oral health of the US population.
Although the health care system is moving toward paying for performance and outcomes, dentistry lags behind. We review publications that identify obstacles to payment for outcomes in oral health as well as moving away from traditional fee-for-service reimbursement.
Payment for value in dentistry is a long way from becoming a reality; however, the testing of models within Medicaid that set aside a small percentage of the fee for a procedure to be reimbursed based on the improved oral health of the patient and/or the population of the practice may facilitate its adoption. A similar set aside in capitation-based programs could ensure the delivery of essential services and avoid the underutilization traditionally associated with this type of reimbursement system. Similar incentives could be tested in group practices and perhaps even community health centers. Widespread adoption of diagnostics code, missing in dental records, would enable better tracking of met needs. Educational systems that foster intra- and interprofessional teamwork and the appropriate use of personnel operating at the top of their competency would increase efficiency while adding value at the same or lower cost.
KeywordsDental insurance Diagnostic codes Prepayment Fee-for-service Capitation Reimbursement Pay for performance (P4P) Value-based payment Health care outcomes
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance
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