Adults 45 years and older with poorly controlled diabetes are nearly three times more likely to experience severe periodontitis than members of their age cohort without diabetes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The federal agency says one-third of people with diabetes have severe periodontitis, which is a loss of attachment of 5 millimeters or more of the gums to the teeth.
Boston-based Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) and Waltham, Mass.-based 42 North Dental had patients with diabetes, as well as pregnant women and patients with heart conditions and oral cancer. This was announced in February in the country’s first value-based contract between a payer and a dental group practice. BCBSMA offers dental and medical insurance, in addition to other products, while 42 North Dental supports 22 dental practice brands in 70 New England locations.
Under the agreement, BCBSMA will pay an incentive payment to 42 North Dental in early 2021 in return for dental providers demonstrating measurable quality improvements in the oral and overall health of the payer’s dental members, says Bob Lowando, DDS, executive director of Dental Blue at BCBSMA. The additional services for members include extra dental cleanings and periodontal treatments, which help patients manage their health conditions while reducing their medical costs, adds Lewando.
Michael Scialabba, DDS, vice president of clinical affairs at 42 North Dental, says the dental practice group saw 18,000 unique BCBSMA-insured Massachusetts patients in 2019. Patients who only have BCBSMA dental coverage must get a letter from their primary care physician confirming they have one of the conditions, he adds.