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DQA approves first measures for adults

January 23, 2017

By Kelly Soderlund

The Dental Quality Alliance approved in December its first set of measures for the adult population, which will be used to evaluate dental plans and program performance.

In partnership with a research team from the University of Washington, the DQA tested adult measures for validity, reliability, feasibility and usability using data from Medicaid program level data from Washington and Wisconsin and plan level data from Wisconsin Delta Dental.

These measures are:
  • Oral evaluation for adults with periodontitis.
  • Ongoing care for adults with periodontitis.
"The DQA's first foray in measure development tackled high standards in dental care for the pediatric population," said Dr. Marie Schweinebraten, DQA chair and representative of the American Academy of Periodontology. "With the success of the pediatric measures, the DQA has moved forward and approved its first set of adult measures. These measures highlight the need for continued periodontal care that plays a significant role in treating chronic disease. These measures will play a part in improving access to periodontal preventive services for beneficiaries by holding plans and programs accountable."

The information gathered through these performance measures is intended help dentists understand the number of adults in various dental plans and Medicaid who are receiving care for periodontitis and caries, said. Dr. Craig Amundson, chair of the DQA Measures Development and Maintenance Committee.

"These measures really are focused on patients who have been diagnosed with active dental disease, and it's the right population to be focusing on for follow up care and follow up interventions," Dr. Amundson said. "I think it's quite consistent with what's important to dentists in terms of treating patients. If there's active disease I think dentist would wish there was focus on managing that disease."

The project is supported, in part, through a grant from the ADA Foundation.

The DQA, formed in 2008 through a request from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is comprised of multiple stakeholders from across the oral health community who are committed to the development of consensus-based quality measures.

For more information on the DQA, visit ADA.org/dqa. Dentists are also invited to email DQA staff with any questions at dqa@ada.org.