Advantage Dental made the rounds in eastern Idaho promoting the managed care approach to local oral health care providers.
While this approach is growing in Idaho, some have been using it for some time. Orthodontist Rufus Van Dyke treats his patients “like my own family.” In his 19 years practicing, he likes to try and solve a problem sooner, rather than later.
“It’s way easier to prevent it than it is to kind of knee-jerk react and treat it at 14, 15 or 16, when it’s already gotten to a point where it’s tougher,” said Van Dyke.
With this approach, he’s found a “typically better outcome, typically less time and usually less expensive.”
This is the reason Advantage Dental promotes managed care convinced that preventive care helps eliminate unnecessary work for patients, which ultimately reduces the costs of health care.
The company achieves this by incentivizing dentists in their network.
“We pay the dentists differently,” said Dr. Mike Shirtcliff, president and founder of Advantage Dental. “They get paid on a (certain number of patients) per month basis versus how many crowns you can do. It’s really about how do you manage the population.”
In Oregon, Advantage Dental has helped lower long-term dental treatment costs. They know this because of the electronic database system they use.
“How many kids are without decay, how many children aren’t going to the hospital, those kinds of things,” Shirtcliff said. “If you have a really efficient database system using electronics you can actually manage things a lot better.”
The state’s contract for its oral health care provider is expiring in August and Advantage Dental plans to make a bid for it.
On Thursday, the company will be opening its first Idaho office in Boise. Currently, there are 400 dentists in the state under Advantage Dental’s network.