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DQA accepting proposals to test measures

August 13, 2012

By Kelly Soderlund, ADA News staff

The Dental Quality Alliance is accepting project proposals from researchers to test its core set of performance measures on pediatric oral health.

The measures, developed by the DQA and approved at its July meeting, need to be tested to determine their feasibility, reliability and validity before they are submitted for endorsement by the National Quality Forum.

“Quality measurement has been present for some time in medical care and it’s evolving in oral health care. This is going to impact not only public pay programs such as dental Medicaid and federal Children’s Health Insurance Programs but it will likely extend into private pay benefit plans through regulations of the health care exchanges,” said Dr. Christopher Smiley, DQA chair. “At this point, these measures are really focused on answering the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service’s request to have pediatric health measures that are focused at the program level. It’s going to advance the oral health of the population by applying measurements and evidence-based procedure to achieve that goal.”

Dr. Smiley is expecting dental school research programs, payer organizations or any other group that have research expertise or access to claims data to submit a proposal. The deadline is Sept. 1. Those interested can access the Request for Proposal for Testing (PDF).

The ADA was asked in 2008 by CMS to be the lead agency in forming the DQA, with an initial charge of creating programmatic measures for children’s dental Medicaid plans. It is comprised of multiple stakeholders from across the oral health community who are committed to development of consensus based measures.

“The initial measures we developed for pediatric health care will advance the oral health of the measured population by applying the knowledge gained and encourage program design that promotes evidence-based procedures with known outcomes, to achieve improved health goals,” Dr. Smiley said.

The ADA recently sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services urging it to use clinical quality measures developed by the DQA when setting Affordable Care Act standards for qualified health plan accreditation.

“I am just thrilled when we take a look at what’s been accomplished by the DQA over the past year and its potential to advance oral health care,” Dr. Smiley said.

ADA members can learn more about the DQA at Dental Quality Alliance.