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HMSA Member News > On the AgendaFall 2011 IS Magazine

A Healthy Mouth Protects More Than Just Teeth

HMSA rolls out the Oral Health for Total Health program.

By Antonio Saguibo Jr., Vice President, Account Management & Sales, HMSA

At HMSA, we are committed to our community and the health of our members. In support of this commitment, we recently introduced a three-tiered approach to optimum oral care called Oral Health for Total Health.

The Oral Health for Total Health program includes:
  • Informing our members about the connection between oral and overall health.
  • Educating members with coronary artery disease (CAD) or diabetes about the benefits of good oral health.
  • Engaging in targeted intervention for select members with CAD or diabetes who have not visited a dentist in the past 12 months, and encouraging them to schedule an appointment with their dentist.
“While investigation into the connection between oral health and systemic diseases continues, the fact is, high levels of bacteria in the mouth lead to higher levels of bacteria in the blood and trigger inflammatory processes,” says Timothy Tanabe, D.D.S., a dental consultant for HMSA Dental Services.

The successful launch of Oral Health for Total Health would not have been possible without early help from our community. In 2009, HMSA offered Castle Medical Center the opportunity to be the first company to pilot this new program.

According to HMSA claims data, 99 of 1,179 Castle employees had a diagnosis of diabetes, CAD, or both, and were overdue for dental care. Letters were sent to these individuals on the benefits of regular dental visits, information on their specific medical condition, and the importance of making an appointment with a dentist.

At the end of the pilot, Castle saw a significant increase in the number of employees with CAD or diabetes who had used their HMSA dental benefits. This successful combination of education and outreach prompted targeted members to go to the dentist, and has been duplicated in other markets.

“We were pleased that so many of our employees with diabetes and coronary artery disease responded to the outreach from HMSA and visited their dentist,” says Adele Hoe, director of Human Resources at Castle Medical Center. “Our goal at Castle is to continue to introduce new activities and health information that improve our associates’ lives.”

Earlier this year, HMSA reached out to all at-risk members with a diagnosis of CAD or diabetes. These members received a letter reminding them that they hadn’t visited a dentist in the past year, a brochure on the Oral Health for Total Health program, and steps they could take for a healthier mouth and body. We’re hopeful that many of these members will be motivated to visit their dentist.

HMSA is proud to work with community partners such as Castle Medical Center to promote and share ideas and innovations for a better community. If you have questions about HMSA’s innovative Oral Health for Total Health program, please call us at (808) 948-6440 on O‘ahu or 1 (800) 792-4672 toll-free on the Neighbor Islands.

Island Scene Online is not intended to replace the advice of health care professionals. Please consult your physician for your personal needs and before making any changes in your lifestyle.
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