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UCLA-First 5 LA Oral Health Program Advances New Era of Healthcare

The UCLA-First 5 LA Quality Improvement Learning Collaborative (QILC) today recognized the achievements of 22 LA County partner clinics for their efforts to advance the health and well-being of Los Angeles County children – ages 0-5 – by improving their access to quality oral health care and reducing their risk of developing dental disease. Carole D’Elia – Executive Director of the Little Hoover Commission – will deliver a keynote address at a celebration luncheon at the Center at Cathedral Plaza.

“We’re in a new era of healthcare,” said Jim Crall, DDS, ScD, UCLA-First 5 LA Oral Health Program Director and QILC Chair. “Our Learning Collaborative creates opportunities to efficiently and effectively deliver the care our patients deserve – when and where they need it.”

Indeed, for the past year, participating clinics have used quality improvement methods to test and implement evidence-based strategies that reduce the risk of dental disease and its consequences in young children.

“We’ve far exceeded our initial goal of expanding access to care for 13,000 additional young children in Los Angeles – but over 500,000 of our young LA kids still are not receiving care,” Crall continued. “We’ve learned how to redesign the delivery of care. And we know the interventions that make a difference – like engaging our medical colleagues, intervening early with education and preventive services, and managing disease.”

Now that the infrastructure has been established, the next phase of the Collaborative will focus on engaging leaders to champion integrated medical and dental care throughout their organizations. More often than not, such transformational change requires an organization-wide culture shift so that even more and better work can be accomplished in a far-reaching and sustainable way.

In April, the Little Hoover Commission – an independent oversight agency of California state government – released a new report entitled “Fixing Denti-Cal” (lhc.ca.gov/studies/230/Report230.pdf). The Commission’s findings and recommendations describe the predicament of 13 million Californians who find themselves covered by an outdated, stagnant program that has alienated oral health professionals and failed to provide access at levels achieved by other states. The Commission reports that many Californians struggle to find dental homes where they can utilize their Denti-Cal benefits due to limited provider networks.

Clinics participating in the innovative UCLA-First 5 LA Learning Collaborative – which uses the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Breakthrough Series model to address this formidable challenge -- include:

Additional clinics involved in an observing role include:

For more information about the UCLA-First 5 LA Oral Health Program Quality Improvement Learning Collaborative – or for interviews with Crall, D’Elia or Project Director Colleen Lampron – contact Ashley Griggs, Project Assistant, at agriggs@dentistry.ucla.edu or (310) 206-8911.

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