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Reducing the Cost of Dental Care

Reducing the Cost of Dental Care

Robert T. Kudrle
Lawrence Meskin
Copyright Date: 1983
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Reducing the Cost of Dental Care
    Book Description:

    Reducing the Cost of Dental Care was first published in 1983. Spiraling heath care costs have encouraged health care practitioners, public policy-makers, and consumers to find ways of maintaining high quality care at affordable rates. Reducing the Cost of Dental Care examines a number of ways in which cost savings might be realized in dentistry. This collection of papers, written by health economists and dentists, brings together economic issues and health care aspects of the debate. Each of the six chapters addresses a particular issue concerning cost and quality of care. Chapter one shows the probable effects on dental costs of advertising, franchising, multiple-dentist practices, and greater use of auxiliary personnel. Chapter two explores alternatives for the delivery of dental care: prepaid group practices, government-sponsored programs, and dental care delivered in school and workplaces. The third chapter focuses on cost savings which could result from increased use of auxiliary personnel, a practice which is presently illegal. A chapter on changes in dental education suggests that less important material be eliminated from dental school curriculums and that students be trained to practice cost-conscious dentistry. Chapter five presents, through computer simulation, the varying costs of different patterns of care: preventative, intermittent, or care as a response to symptoms. Chapter six explores quality assurance systems which can monitor the type of treatment and the level of care and skill provided by dental personnel. The introduction and conclusion of the book deal with another important issue, cost increases which are due to third-party payment. The editors discuss the costs and benefits of the growth of dental insurance. Throughout, the aim in this volume is to present practical suggestions for reducing costs without sacrificing quality care. Where possible, the authors suggest ways of improving access to dental care for groups who are now outside the delivery systems. The papers are written to be accessible to dentists, economists, policy-makers, and all those involved in health delivery systems.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6336-1
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Contributors
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Table of Contents
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. xiii-2)
    Robert T. Kudrle and Lawrence Meskin

    Dental disease is perhaps the most prevalent chronic malady of mankind, and it is rampant in industrial and developing countries alike.¹ But unlike the bewildering variety of diseases that the broader health care sector treats, dental disease is primarily limited to a few major types. Dental caries (decay) and periodontal (tissue surrounding the teeth) disease are the most common and can ultimately lead to tooth loss. While oral cancer does occur, its incidence is rare and most treatment takes place outside the dental care sector. Growth and development problems, the concern of the dental specialties of orthodontics (teeth straightening) and...

  7. 1 Market Forces
    (pp. 3-34)
    Douglas A. Conrad and Peter Milgrom

    This chapter will analyze the role of market forces in containing dental-care costs. “Market forces” are the whole range of supply, demand, and structural factors that shape the dental-care market. In analyzing the role of these forces, this paper will examine how supply, demand, and the market structure in which dental services are delivered interact with one another to determine dental-care costs.

    Several developments promise to affect dental costs significantly during the eighties. These include market developments in the private sector, social and demographic changes, and initiatives in the public sphere (such as price controls, antitrust actions, and state regulatory...

  8. 2 The Delivery of Dental Care
    (pp. 35-66)
    Howard L. Bailit and Robert T. Kudrle

    Until recently the system for delivering personal dental services in the United States remained relatively unchanged with most care provided by solo dentists in fee-for-service practice who received direct payment from patients after completion of treatment. Although the traditional delivery system still predominates, substantial changes are now taking place relating to prepayment for services, group practices, capitation payment methods, relocation of traditional practice sites, regulation of professional behavior, and new technologies. This chapter will examine how these changes may affect the cost of dental care.

    Here we introduce a conceptual framework that considers dental providers and payers as sharing in...

  9. 3 Auxiliary Personnel
    (pp. 67-97)
    David O. Born

    Cost containment in dentistry can be achieved through a variety of techniques. Community water fluoridation can prevent a certain amount of dental disease, eliminate the need for specific types of dental services, and thus restrain dental-care costs. Another way to contain costs is to monitor the delivery of dental services to minimize unnecessary procedures. A third approach seeks to use the lowest-cost method of providing services. This latter approach will be addressed in this chapter.

    The central question, then, is this: “Are we providing dental services by the lowest-cost method?” More specifically, do dental auxiliaries offer potential for lowering the...

  10. 4 Cost Containment in Dental Education
    (pp. 98-131)
    Sheldon Rovin, Richard Scheffler and Jeffrey C. Bauer

    Substantial discussion and analysis are being devoted to the crises besetting professional health education. Like their counterparts in medicine and allied health education, dental schools face many troubles and uncertainties. If these problems are not resolved soon, they could result in the closure of some dental schools or the forced or expedient restructuring of programs in the schools that “survive.” In this paper we advocate the necessity and desirability of planned change. The situation is analyzed from a perspective of offering constructive responses that might strengthen dental education and public confidence in it.

    The overriding theme is cost containment. The...

  11. 5 Prevention of Oral Disease
    (pp. 132-161)
    Brian A. Burt and Kenneth E. Warner

    In recent years it has become widely accepted that prevention might be used not only to improve health, but also to contain the costs of health care. The basic idea is a simple one: relatively low-cost investments in disease prevention and health promotion will prevent or postpone illness and disability that require more expensive medical care. Thus, prevention “works” as a cost-containment device if the dollars saved in future years, discounted to their present value (see section below on discounting), exceed the current cost of making the effort. It should be emphasized, however, that prevention can work as a health-care...

  12. 6 Quality Assurance
    (pp. 162-189)
    Marvin Marcus and Samuel J. Tobin

    The relationship between quality and cost is never obvious. This relationship becomes more obscure when we are considering the behavior of a diverse system such as dental care. This chapter will probe the concepts of quality and quality-assurance systems. We will specifically explore the following areas: (1) problems concerning quality assurance, (2) components and types of quality assurance, (3) institutional circumstances that affect quality assurance, (4) interaction of costs, quality assurance, and problems of quality, and (5) examination of potential effectiveness of quality-assurance systems.

    Quality care results in an improvement in the individual’s state of health and well-being. A problem...

  13. 7 Summary and Research Suggestions
    (pp. 190-212)
    Robert T. Kudrle and Lawrence Meskin

    As any reader of this book quickly recognizes, there are not only different concepts of “cost” but varying opinions on the most promising areas for cost reduction in dental care. Many of the differences among the authors in the weight they place on different factors result directly from their different assignments. Yet there remains disagreement—or at least different emphasis—among several of the chapters on such issues as the critical barriers to more effective employment of auxiliaries, the potential of outside capital and management to encourage lower production costs, the present efficiency of the dental-care system, the ability of...

  14. Index
    (pp. 215-220)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 221-221)