Monday Roundtable Luncheon
Rationale: More than half of Louisiana’s residents have no access to community water fluoridation and 84% of the state’s population live in a dental health professional shortage area (HPSA), as 1.8 million Louisiana residents are underserved due to dental HPSA’s. Fluoride varnish provides the most effective protection against tooth decay at a very young age. Pediatric medical providers have a unique position to provide early care and educate parents as they are the first line of defense against illness and disease especially in cases where a child does not have access to a dentist. Methods: In Louisiana, although the reimbursement rate for fluoride varnish application in a medical office is sufficient to cover incurred costs, the number of medical providers submitting claims had remained low. Through existing partnerships with the state’s Medicaid program, WIC and the Louisiana Oral Health Coalition, Well-Ahead Louisiana Oral Health Promotion (WAL-OHP) used innovative strategies to target fluoride varnish interventions focused on promoting the awareness of the state’s fluoride varnish policy to all pediatric medical providers and educating parents/guardians. Results: Overall, the number of fluoride varnish reimbursement claims submitted increased by 64% from 2015 to 2017. Conclusions: Because of these collaborative activities, an increased number of eligible children receiving fluoride varnish by certified SFL providers and more parents educated on the benefits of fluoride. WAL-OHP anticipates that the success of these effective fluoride varnish interventions will ultimately lead to further discussions for legislated school varnish programs in Louisiana.