Grant Project Title
Transforming Oral Health in Maine
Grantee Address

Maine Primary Care Association
73 Winthrop Street
Augusta, ME
United States

The Maine Primary Care Association (MPCA) is the community health center association for the state of Maine. While CareQuest Institute does not have an extensive history of grant funded work with MPCA, for the past two years the focus of their work has been to expand Medicaid adult dental benefits and begin to shift safety net dental practices towards value-based care and payment.

Over the course of 2021, MPCA implemented a number of components of a value-based care pilot project. MPCA developed a practice profile for dental practices to assess their electronic health records, developed a capacity building plan to strengthen safety net interoperability, convened health centers to build alignment around a plan for operationalizing value-based metrics using diagnosis codes. Maine’s safety net, like most other states, also has suffered extreme workforce shortages that have impacted the capacity of health centers to meaningfully participate in projects that expand into new models of person-centered care. According to a workforce summary that MPCA implemented last year, the highest area of need within community health centers was dental assistants, with the second highest being hygienists.

MPCA also developed some new partnerships in 2021 with the Maine Access Immigrant Network, Maine Bureau of Veteran’s Services, and the Maine Developmental Disabilities Council.

The collection of these circumstances, partnerships, and accomplishments have created a unique window of opportunity to strengthen the capacity of the safety net in Maine for new and existing Medicaid beneficiaries and better position community health center to engage in value-based models of oral health care. As a result, MPCA is proposing to lead two key areas of work.

The first is a broad scale implementation of training and technical support focused on building readiness for the new Medicaid adult dental benefit and the new slate of beneficiaries available for coverage in Maine. These efforts will additionally have an explicit focus on technical support for serving Veterans, communities of color, immigrants, refugees or asylees, as well as patients with special health care needs. To do this, MPCA will specifically partner with the above, new partners to guide the development of technical support and resources so that members of those communities are directly engaged in designing new systems of care.

The second area of work is focused on workforce development and implementing a new Dental Assistant (DA) training program to both address the immediate and urgent workforce shortages, and position DAs and community health centers to be more equipped for advancing integrated models of care. One goal of this work is to strengthen the capacity of existing DAs, build capacity of existing health center staff in becoming new DAs, and supporting health centers in creating opportunities within the communities they serve for becoming DAs.

The budget for this proposal is $103,712. Of that, about $74,000 goes to staff time. There is $10,000 associated with stipends for health centers to participate in the work and there is $4,000 to specifically contract with the abovementioned partners to bring in the voices of veteran’s, people of color, immigrants, refugees, asylees, and people with special health care needs. The remainder of the budget goes to supplies and meeting expenses associated with the deliverables.

The total organizational budget for MPCA is $3,340,942, which means this grant represents about 3% of their total budget. Additionally, MPCA has submitted a funding request for supplemental, 3-year funding that would support the scaling and sustainability of this work.

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