Health Care Innovation Awards: Project Profile


Project Title: "Improving the care and oral health of American Indian mothers and young children and American Indian people with diabetes on South Dakota reservations"
Geographic Reach: North Dakota, South Dakota
Funding Amount: $3,364,528
Estimated 3-Year Savings: $6,200,000


Delta Dental of South Dakota, which covers over thirty-thousand isolated, low-income, and underserved Medicaid beneficiaries and other American Indians on reservations throughout South Dakota, received an award to improve oral health and health care for American Indian mothers, their young children, and American Indian people with diabetes. Providing preventive care will help avoid and arrest oral and dental diseases, repair damage, prevent recurrence, and ultimately, reduce the need for surgical care. The project will also work with diabetic program coordinators to identify and treat people with diabetes. By coordinating community-based oral care with other social and care provider services, the model is expected to reduce the high incidence of oral health problems in the area, improve patient access, monitoring, and overall health, and lower cost through prevention with estimated savings of over $6 million. Over the three-year period, the Delta Dental of South Dakota Circle of Smiles program will train an estimated 24 health care workers and create an estimated 24 new jobs. These workers will be comprised of registered dental hygienists and community health representatives who will treat and educate patients and coordinate their dental care.

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