Grant Project Title
Simulation Research to Predict Consequences of Adult Dental Medicaid Cuts
Grantee Address

University of Washington, School of Dentistry
1959 Pacific Ave NE #356370
Seattle, WA
United States

The University of Washington School of Dentistry (UW) focuses their efforts on educating a progressive oral health workforce, developing community collaborations, and bringing advances in science to address pressing oral health needs. This work will be led by Dr. Donald Chi, who is a board-certified pediatric dentist and health services research, and a Professor of Oral Health Sciences at both the dental school and the School of Public Health.

This project stems from the work that the UW has supported over time, in Washington and in other states, to protect and expand Medicaid dental benefits. Through experiencing Medicaid cuts and participating in advocacy efforts to reinstate benefits, UW developed a research strategy that supported advocates statewide with impact-based data. However, as opportunities have presented themselves for UW to support the protection of Medicaid dental benefits in other states, the response they continue to get from policy makers is that Washington data is not applicable in their state.

To address this issue, UW will leverage Medicaid data from the state of Washington over the course of 2008 – 2021, a period that the state experienced both cuts and reinstatements to the dental benefit, to develop a simulation model to forecast the consequences of changes to dental care use among children and adults. Additionally, UW will gather data from 1-2 other states (likely California or Massachusetts) to expand the proportional and geographic data that supports the simulation framework. With this foundation, the school will then input patient and supply-side characteristics of one state that has cut their dental benefits and one state that has not cut benefits to test the model.

The end product will be a simulation tool that can be used by states to determine how adult dental Medicaid cuts would impact both outcomes and costs in their specific states. Additionally, UW will collect the narrative of their work and, as a result of this investment, develop 2 manuscripts, one on the development and validation of the simulation model and one on the application of the model. UW will also present the project at 2 or more state or national conferences.

An initial conversation with the CareQuest Institute Analytics and Evaluation team has generated some interest in a collaborative component of this project that would entail taking the completed simulation model and turning it into an online dashboard to maximize its utility for the field.

The budget for this proposal is $190,000. Of the requested amount, $152,000 goes to cover the staff time for the primary and co-investigators as well as a data analyst to fulfil the research deliverables. There is an additional $5,000 expense for a biostatistician as a consultant and the remaining costs are related to travel and meeting costs. The total budget for the school is over $13 million and so this proposal represents less than 1% of their total budget.

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