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Dental Quality Alliance: ADA leads on quality measures

As part of an ongoing Dental Quality Alliance effort that will develop programmatic performance measures to assess oral health care quality for Medicaid patients, the first meeting of the DQA steering committee convened at ADA Headquarters in Chicago Dec. 3 and 4.

The steering committee plans to meet again early in 2010 to finalize plans for the Dental Quality Alliance.

"The DQA Steering Committee meeting is an excellent opportunity to start a new era in working with programmatic studies related to access and individual states' Medicaid programs," said Dr. R. Wayne Thompson, 12th District trustee and chair of the committee.

"The steering committee will develop the internal protocols for the DQA, not CMS," Dr. A. Conan Davis, chief dental officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, advised the Council on Dental Benefit Programs at its November 2008 meeting.

The 2008 ADA House of Delegates directed that ADA explore the development of a DQA in the oral health care delivery system and authorized the ADA Board of Trustees, in consultation with the appropriate ADA agencies, to determine if participation should be pursued by the ADA.

The ADA Board of Trustees in December 2008 decided the ADA should go forward with a leadership role in the DQA's formation.

Understanding that the ultimate goal of a dental quality alliance is to ensure patients' experiences and outcomes of care are optimal, not to focus on the actions of individual practitioners, the Board June 14 approved CDBP's recommendation that a representative from each of the following groups serve on the steering committee:

  • Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations;
  • Council on Government Affairs;
  • Council on Dental Practice;
  • Council on Dental Benefit Programs;
  • Board of Trustees;
  • American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry;
  • Academy of General Dentistry;
  • National Association of Dental Plans;
  • American Dental Education Association;
  • Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services.

"A core competency of the ADA is the development of standards for our profession," said Dr. Christopher Smiley, CDBP's representative on the committee. "The ADA House of Delegates recognized the need for our Association to have a voice in the assessment and development of these measures when they approved our taking a leadership role in the formation of a broad-based Dental Quality Alliance."

Those interested in participating in the DQA as its work develops should e-mail their names, addresses and phone numbers and any specific organization affiliations to Dr. David Preble, CDBP director, at