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DQA continues its mission of defining quality care

January 03, 2012

By Kelly Soderlund, ADA News staff

The Dental Quality Alliance met at ADA Headquarters Dec. 2 and continues to make progress advancing oral health quality measurements.

Heidi Bossley of the National Quality Forum and Dr. Mark Antman of the Physician Consortium for Performance Measurement presented information on their programs related to measure development and endorsement.

Under contract with the Department of Health and Human Services, the NQF will soon begin conducting an environmental scan of oral health measures. The DQA’s Research and Development Advisory Committee has been engaged in conducting an environmental scan of existing children’s dental quality measures which will be shared with the NQF for this work.

"The DQA will work closely with NQF on the oral health project." said Dr. Christopher Smiley, DQA chair for 2012.

Dr. Ramesh Sachdeva and Ms. Lauren Barone of the American Academy of Pediatrics presented their work on developing oral health measures through the AHRQ Centers for Excellence grant award.

"The DQA stakeholders are also working to develop caries prevention measures that focus on many of the goals expressed in the ADA clinical guidelines, such as those for fluoride varnish," said Dr. Smiley.

The ultimate goal of the DQA is to position itself as a significant contributor in the development of new dental quality measurements, said Laurie Norris, senior policy advisor and coordinator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Oral Health Initiative, a member of the DQA. Recently, the DQA became aware of a list of measures proposed by HHS for the various federal programs in 2012. This list includes at least two measures on oral health proposed for the Medicaid EHR Incentive program. The DQA hopes to soon provide input on these measures.

At the December meeting, the DQA approved a newly developed guidebook designed to help its members and other interested parties understand the purpose, importance, scope and types of quality performance measurement.

"The DQA aims to lead the profession in the development of appropriate quality measures in full collaboration with its many partners in dentistry, third-party payers and other interested parties in health care and the government," said Dr. Ronald Hunt, DQA chair-elect for 2012.

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. Representatives from CMS have since asked the DQA to move past measures that demonstrate access to care and focus on those that demonstrate improvements in oral health of children enrolled in dental Medicaid plans.

"Through the DQA, the ADA and other stakeholders have the unique opportunity to collaboratively research, collect, develop and adopt meaningful measures to define the quality of care we provide to the public," said Dr. Joseph Hagenbruch, DQA member representing the ADA Board of Trustees.