ODA participates in workgroup to make recommendations for better student health

The Ohio Dental Association is participating in the recently created School Based Health Care Advisory Workgroup, which aims to study and create recommendations for communities to improve academic achievement through better student health.

The workgroup was created by legislation passed last spring and will:

  • Review evidence of the correlation between student health and academic achievement;
  • Identify existing best practices to improve academic achievement through better student health;
  • Based on existing best practices, recommend one or more models for communities that want to improve academic achievement through better student health;
  • Recommend financial strategies to sustain the models over time, with an emphasis on health coverage through commercial insurance and Medicaid, not other governmental subsidies;
  • Recommend health care service delivery strategies that are known to improve health outcomes, such as patient-centered medical homes;
  • Explore the community learning center model delivery of student health care services;
  • Ensure that all recommendations adhere to state and federal law.

The workgroup is made up of many different people representing various health care providers, plus several government officials and state legislators.

The first meeting took place in September, where attendees heard a presentation on the Oyler School health care program.

The Oyler School uses a community learning center model, where the school is a “hub of the community.” A variety of resources are available at the school, from health care services to mentoring and food assistance.

Paul Rudolph, Executive Director of Children’s Oral Health Network, said the school is much more than just a medical home because it provides so many resources.

“It’s a child centered home – it has everything from medical to dental to help with reading to help with math, to even help with food,” he said.

A resource coordinator works with all of the different partners within the school and the students and their families. They help students and their families connect with the resources they need, plus help the providers and partners within the school communicate with each other and the families.

Rudolph said the connection with the community and the community engagement with the school are part of why the Oyler School is so successful. He said community involvement has helped the health care facilities to have a high utilization rate, which is important for making the business model work.

The Oyler School includes a school-based health clinic that is available to all students, and offers services including primary care, dental, vision and mental health services. The Oyler School health clinic serves students from over 40 different schools in the area.

The Delta Dental Center at Oyler School opened in 2013 and is a public/private/ professional collaboration.

The dental center is run by the Cincinnati Health Department and is a federally qualified health center (FQHC) lookalike, which offers enhanced reimbursements for Medicaid patients. The center is operated by a full staff of paid personnel for four days of the week, and at least one day a week volunteers from the Cincinnati Dental Society staff the clinic to see children who are not covered by insurance or Medicaid.

Rudolph said volunteer efforts from the Cincinnati Dental Society have been very important in helping the uninsured patient base and creating a sustainable model.

For more information on the Delta Dental Center at Oyler School, click here.