A Health Center in Michigan Shows the Path to Value and Sustainability

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September 12, 2023

Many of the patients Lauren Rush, DDS, sees at MyCare Health Center in Michigan have to choose between taking care of their own personal health or putting food on the table for their family.

That’s because at MyCare Health Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), most patients are enrolled in Medicaid. That means they have issues accessing oral health care, whether it’s due to finding reliable transportation, getting childcare so they can go to their appointment, or getting time off work.

“One of the biggest challenges that we’ve faced is, of course, no-shows and broken appointments,” says Rush, MyCare Health Center’s chief dental officer.

But Rush, MyCare Health Center’s CEO Karen Wood, RD, and their team have made improvements that prioritize value over volume. In the process, they have decreased their cost per visit, decreased their no-show rates, and increased their net revenue.

Danielle Apostolon is the program manager at CareQuest Institute. She notes that MyCare Health Center is “not only able to survive, but thrive.”

Some of the health center’s improvements were made when the FQHC started participating in CareQuest Institute’s Community Oral Health Transformation (COrHT) initiative. The initiative provides a framework for safety net dental clinics to help transform oral health care delivery so that it is accessible, focused on prevention and minimally invasive care, and integrated with medical care.

More specifically, since joining COrHT in June 2022, MyCare Health Center has been able to:

  • Increase the bottom line by $64,000
  • Increase access by 200 additional visits
  • Reduce the cost per visit by $68
  • Decrease the no-show rate by 2%
  • Improve on preventive metrics

Apostolon says those improvements are also the result of MyCare Health Center’s leadership team working together. She adds, “From experience, I have seen many FQHC dental programs struggle because of a disconnect with leadership and how it impacts sustainability and quality of care.”

And the FQHC plans to continue that upward trajectory — by expanding. “We’ve recently opened a new dental center,” Rush says. “What’s next on our immediate radar is continuing to use some of the best practices that we've learned in order to help grow our volume at that site. And we still, although we feel like we’ve been successful with this COrHT initiative and some of the goals we’ve set, there are still quite a few that are ongoing.”

Watch this video to hear more about MyCare Health Center’s journey to creating a system that provides value for patients and sustainability for the organization.

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