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UnitedHealthcare and United Health Foundation Provide $1.75 Million to Temple University to Improve Children’s Dental Care



  UnitedHealthcare and United Health Foundation Provide $1.75 Million to
  Temple University to Improve Children’s Dental Care

  * UnitedHealthcare donates $750,000 and United Health Foundation provides $1
    million to Temple University to launch “Project ENGAGE”
  * Program will create an oral health registry to identify and support
    children at risk for developing tooth decay; provide oral health detection
    training for primary care physicians
  * Initiative expected to improve health outcomes for thousands of Medicaid
    beneficiaries in Pennsylvania

Business Wire

PHILADELPHIA -- February 19, 2013

Temple University’s Kornberg School of Dentistry, with support from
UnitedHealthcare and United Health Foundation, today launched Project ENGAGE,
an initiative designed to improve children’s oral health and address one of
the greatest unmet health needs for young people in Pennsylvania and
nationwide.

Project ENGAGE will work with Philadelphia children under 6 and their families
who are enrolled in the state’s Medicaid plan, including the UnitedHealthcare
Community Plan of Pennsylvania. The goal is to expand the initiative to other
parts of the state and country.

The new program will improve children’s oral health by creating an oral health
registry that will use dental claims information and operating and emergency
department histories to identify children most at risk of developing any
health issues as a result of tooth decay. Community health workers will
provide these children and their families, including siblings and pregnant
women, with information, counseling and assistance in scheduling dental
appointments. Public health dental hygienists will also be available to
provide in-home care and additional treatments, such as fluoride varnishes and
sealants.

“Temple University is excited to work with UnitedHealthcare and United Health
Foundation to address the challenges and issues related to the oral health
care of children in our state,” said Amid Ismail, dean of the Kornberg School
of Dentistry. “By creating this oral health registry and the associated
intervention programs, we are creating an innovative model that will improve
the health and well-being of thousands of children and their families.”

Tooth decay is an infectious disease that ranks as the most common chronic
condition during childhood; it is five times more prevalent in children than
asthma, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. If left
untreated, tooth decay can cause infections and illness, and affect the
development of permanent teeth.

Currently, fewer than 30 percent of the children under 6 living in the five
zip codes (19121, 19122, 19132, 19133 and 19140) surrounding the Kornberg
School of Dentistry’s North Philadelphia campus have access to proper oral
health care, often due to lack of awareness of the importance of oral health,
limited transportation and access to qualified dental care providers. One of
the program’s goals is to increase that access and reach at least 60 percent
of the children.

Project ENGAGE is being funded with a $1 million grant from United Health
Foundation and another $750,000 from UnitedHealthcare. Temple University will
work together to create the registry and coordinate the interventions to
families, with assistance from UnitedHealthcare.

“The neighborhoods served by Project ENGAGE have the highest cost-of-care for
children’s dental care in Pennsylvania, in part because the parents of these
children tend to seek dental care only when it’s an emergency and then seek
that care at a hospital, which can be expensive,” Ismail said. “We need to
shift the dental care from when the children have a problem to before the
problem starts.”

The program will also provide training for primary care physicians to
encourage preventive screenings and to apply dental varnish, while also giving
general dentists who do not currently provide dental care for very young
children the support and information needed to care for children. Studies show
that children should begin seeing a dentist before their first birthday. In
many cases, dental referrals for young children come through primary care
physicians, helping to catch diseases early and perhaps avoid a lifetime of
dental disease and other health issues.

“By combining Temple University’s clinical expertise with UnitedHealthcare’s
extensive claims information, we will promote oral health, expand access to
care and reduce the prevalence of dental disease,” said Michael Weitzner, DMD,
MS, vice president, UnitedHealthcare Dental. “We have the unique opportunity
to enhance the health delivery system and improve health outcomes for
thousands of children in Pennsylvania.”

Project ENGAGE builds on the success of other oral health initiatives created
by UnitedHealthcare for Medicaid plans. In New York, New Jersey and
Mississippi, UnitedHealthcare organizes the Early Childhood Caries program,
which encourages primary care physicians to perform oral health screenings on
very young children. The program has helped enhance preventive care, with
nearly 90 percent of children that were referred to a general dentist after a
physician screening receiving preventive services such as a cleaning or
fluoride treatment.

“United Health Foundation is grateful for the opportunity to support Project
ENGAGE, which will serve as an important resource for improving the oral
health of children and families,” said Kate Rubin, president of United Health
Foundation.

About UnitedHealthcare
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier
lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and
wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The
company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals,
employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with
780,000 physicians and care professionals and 5,900 hospitals and other care
facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare serves more than 40 million people and
is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified
Fortune 50 health and well-being company.

About United Health Foundation
Guided by a passion to help people live healthier lives, United Health
Foundation provides helpful information to support decisions that lead to
better health outcomes and healthier communities. The Foundation also supports
activities that expand access to quality health care services for those in
challenging circumstances and partners with others to improve the well-being
of communities. After its establishment by UnitedHealth Group [NYSE: UNH] in
1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation, the Foundation has committed
more than $200 million to improve health and health care. For additional
information, please visit www.unitedhealthfoundation.org.

Click here to subscribe to Mobile Alerts for UnitedHealth Group.

Contact:

Temple University
Preston Moretz, 215-204-4380
pmoretz@temple.com
or
UnitedHealthcare
Mary McElrath-Jones, 914-552-5713
mary_r_mcelrath-jones@uhc.com
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