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Sustainable Payment Models

Few rural oral health programs have funding to finance all of the dental services their patients need. To support and sustain the services offered, many rural oral health programs are using different payment models to sustain their programs:

50-50 payment model
One rural oral health program uses a 50-50 model. This program works with local dentists who would not ordinarily see Medicaid patients. The program has a grant that pays for a cleaning and personalized dental care plan. Any services needed after that are offered at a reduced rate, where the patient pays 50 percent and the program pays 50 percent of the services.

Volunteer hours
One rural program in Michigan that has been successful in providing dental care to patients in a rural community is the Calhoun County Dentists’ Partnership. In this program, community dentists offer dental care to county residents who do not have dental coverage and meet income limits. Individuals who receive care are asked to volunteer their time at one of more than 60 local nonprofit organizations.

Donated services
Rural oral health programs host dental clinics where student dentists provide services at no cost. One rural program collaborates with a hospital’s pediatric dentistry residency project. In this project, two pediatric residents complete rotations of 4 days per month at a rural dental clinic that serves low-income and uninsured populations.