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Rural Health Information Hub

Sustainable Payment Models

Few rural oral health programs have funding to finance all the dental services their patients need. To support and sustain the services offered, rural oral health programs use different payment models to sustain their programs. It is important to consider a program's overall mission and goals when considering payment models.

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 successfully provided dental care to patients in a rural community was the Calhoun County Dentists' Partnership. In this program, community dentists offered dental care to county residents who did not have dental coverage and met income limits. Individuals who received care were 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.