What is this Toolkit?

This resource is for Colorado medical practices interested in improving the oral health of patients by integrating a dental hygienist into a medical care team to offer up to the full scope of dental hygiene services. The content is specific to Colorado, particularly for topics such as billing, contracting, rules and regulations, and scope of dental hygiene practice. Many parts of this toolkit are applicable across state lines. However, if you do not practice in Colorado, you will need to research topics specific to your state.

This is a “how-to” guide based on the experiences of Wave I of the Colorado Medical-Dental Integration (CO MDI) Project. CO MDI Wave I medical practices integrated hygienists into a variety of practice settings across Colorado. Practices included:

This resource will support medical practices considering the CO MDI model of medical-dental integration and help determine if the practice is ready to begin this work.

It outlines specific activities and tactics to support the startup and implementation phases of the CO MDI model. The startup phase includes the nuts and bolts of hiring and integrating a dental hygienist into a medical practice. We describe how to build a dental space for the hygienist to provide up to the full scope of dental hygiene services in a medical setting and reference Colorado-specific rules and regulations regarding the delivery of, and reimbursement for, dental hygiene services. The implementation phase involves creating and implementing your clinic’s model of care. We provide examples of care delivery models that were developed and tested in the CO MDI medical practices and tools for developing and refining your own model.

The CO MDI model of medical-dental integration is still being developed. Much has been learned to-date and is offered in this toolkit. However, the model and tools provided here will continue to be tested and refined by the CO MDI Project grantees still participating in the project and those that will be added in 2018. This toolkit will continue to evolve as enhancements are identified.

We use the terms medical-dental integration (MDI) and Colorado medical-dental integration (CO MDI) throughout the toolkit. CO MDI refers specifically to the model of MDI used in the CO MDI Project.

The Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation (DDCOF) CO MDI Project Implementation Team collaborated with key stakeholders to build this toolkit. Insight came from many dental and medical practice staff who helped develop and implement various care delivery models.

What it Isn’t

This toolkit does not provide detailed information regarding current prevention and instruction best practices for oral health. It also does not discuss evidence-based best practices for clinical guidelines or dental procedures. Instead, we refer to other organizations that have published work in this area.