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