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ADA thanks IHS for efforts in improving credentialing process

August 14, 2018 Washington — The ADA is thanking the Indian Health Service for implementing new credentialing software to improve the recruitment and retention process for dental volunteers.

In an Aug. 13 letter to Rear Admiral Michael Toedt, M.D., chief medical officer, Indian Health Service, ADA President Joseph P. Crowley said having a "sufficient and strong dental workforce" is vital for providing "accessible oral health care to tribal communities."

"According to the IHS, over 80 percent of American Indian and Alaskan Native children ages 6-9 and 13-15 suffer from dental caries, while less than 50 percent of the U.S. population in the same age groups have experienced cavities," wrote Dr. Crowley. "American Indian and Alaskan Native adults also have more than double the prevalence of untreated tooth decay as the general U.S. population.

"The ADA views this as a national tragedy and is committed to doing what it can to address the problem."

Earlier this year, the Indian Health Service began implementing new credentialing software across all IHS Direct Service Areas. The ADA hopes that streamlining the credentialing process will help fill the more than 100 dentist vacancies so that more patients can be treated on tribal lands.

"We applaud the progress that has been made and would be happy to learn more about the status of this program," wrote Dr. Crowley.

Dr. Crowley also said the Association would like to support IHS with its efforts and that the ADA is "committed to the initiative of expanding the dental workforce and quality of care in tribal communities and looks forward to working with you in achieving this goal."

Dr. Crowley also shared that the ADA and Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare — a nonprofit alliance of health plans and related associations — are working together to help streamline the credentialing process by offering the ADA credentialing service. The service is powered by the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare's ProView, a free data-entry platform for all U.S. licensed dentists.

"We look forward to hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to work together to improve oral health care in Indian Country," Dr. Crowley concluded.