Montgomery County, Md.
The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Maternity Partnership Program (MPP) provides prenatal care, and case management to approximately 1,800 low-income, uninsured, pregnant women living in Montgomery County each year. The Montgomery County DHHS Dental Program provides dental care to low-income, uninsured County residents, including pregnant women enrolled in the MPP. The programs have historically had a difficult time engaging the MPP participants to access dental services. Recognizing the dangers of poor oral health in pregnancy, DHHS developed the MPP Oral Health Initiative to boost dental service participation rates and reduce oral infection in pregnant women through the following activities. 1. Develop Oral Health Curriculum and train MPP staff on the importance of good oral health care during pregnancy. 2. Add additional dental clinic sites for pregnant women to offer better geographic access. 3. Implement new administrative procedures so all MPP patients can schedule their first dental appointment while they are already on site at their orientation session. 4. Increase education provided to MPP patients on the importance of good oral health care by adding Oral Health to MPP prenatal class curriculum. 5. Implement new procedure to call all MPP patients who did not schedule an appointment during orientation. 6. Implement new procedure that MPP Case Managers will support patients in making and keeping dental appointments. Case Managers also reinforce the importance of good oral health practices at home visits. As a result of this collaborative effort, the percentage of MPP patients accessing oral health services has dramatically increased. In 2012, only 30% of program participants accessed dental care during pregnancy while in 2016, the rate had grown to 67%. Additionally, in 2016, the DHHS Dental Program decreased the percentage of pregnant women with severe oral health infection from 30% to 5%.
Ms. Lisa Austin