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Dental Services Delivery System

The Client

Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS)-Purchasing and Service Delivery

The Challenge

Improve a service delivery system. For decades, DHS, dental service providers, advocates, the legislature and other stakeholders have worked to improve the way the state delivers dental services to people participating in Minnesota's health care programs. Despite these efforts and recent improvements, concerns about system financing and access remained. Following a 2013 Legislative Auditor report highlighting many challenges facing the system, the Minnesota Legislature directed the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) to develop recommendations for improving the state's system for delivering oral health and dental services. The Legislature directed DHS to consult with dental services providers to develop strategies for system improvements in nine areas such as access, funding, innovation and fraud prevention.

The Approach

DHS asked for MAD's help in engaging stakeholders across all topic areas, managing the project and developing recommendations in six areas. The timeline for the project was tight - just three months to conduct research and provide a report with recommendations to DHS in time for the 2014 legislative session. MAD worked closely with DHS to:

  • Act as a neutral party in engaging service providers and systematically gather information through interviews and focus groups on all topic areas.
  • Analyze stakeholder feedback, legislative history, the current system and state and national data to develop recommendations for improving access, reimbursement and administrative processes.
  • Provide writing and project management support to assure timely report completion, including synthesizing content, written by three different agencies, into a coherent draft for DHS's finalization.

The Results

DHS completed a comprehensive, legislatively-mandated report within a tight timeframe. The study's findings and recommendations, submitted to the Minnesota Legislature in early 2014, will assist DHS, stakeholders and the legislators in addressing long-standing issues related to funding, managing and improving access to dental and oral health services. One stakeholder group publicly praised DHS for this comprehensive and insightful review of the barriers faced by [patients] and their providers and said they look "forward to working with stakeholders, the legislature, and DHS to enact these recommendations, which will help create and maintain an effective oral health delivery system."

The Consultants

Laura Iversen
Barbara Deming | barbara.deming@state.mn.us
Kelly Lehr

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