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Dental Quality Alliance releases measures to address emergency room use, diabetes

July 24, 2019

By David Burger

The Dental Quality Alliance approved three adult quality measures at its June 14 meeting that address oral care for patients with diabetes and the flooding of emergency rooms by patients with nontraumatic dental conditions.

The measures are:
•    Adults with Diabetes – Oral Evaluation.
•    Ambulatory Care Sensitive Emergency Department Visits for Non-Traumatic Dental Conditions in Adults.
•    Follow-Up after Emergency Department Visits for Non-Traumatic Dental Conditions in Adults.

The measures are designed to evaluate programs such as state Medicaid programs and health plans to improve care for their beneficiaries, said Dr. Craig Amundson, chair of the DQA measure development and maintenance committee.

The number of patients who use emergency rooms as their first resort for nontraumatic dental conditions, Dr. Amundson said, “is becoming a public health problem.” Dental care in an emergency department setting is not definitive with limited care continuity that ultimately leads to poor oral health outcomes, he said.

As for the diabetes measure, there is an established bi-directional relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease, Dr. Amundson said. Diabetes is associated with the increased prevalence and severity of periodontal disease, while severe periodontal disease is associated with poor glycemic control, he said, with oral evaluations representing an important entry point into the dental care system.

The measures were developed over a three-year period using data from Oregon and Iowa Medicaid programs that also involved research teams from the University of California, San Francisco, and the University of Iowa, said Dr. Amundson.

Dr. Amundson
“I feel quite a lot of pride in being with the DQA and the ADA supporting the DQA,” he said.

To access the measures, visit

The Dental Quality Alliance was established by the ADA in 2008 through a request from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The DQA is an organization of major stakeholders in oral health care delivery including specialty organizations, federal agencies and a member of the public that uses a collaborative approach to develop oral health care measures. The mission of the DQA is to advance performance measurement as a means to improve oral health, patient care and safety through a consensus-building process.

For more information about the Dental Quality Alliance, visit or email