Dental Therapists expand access to care for children and adults


‘An Advanced Dental Therapist in Rural Minnesota: Jodi Hager’s Case Study’ is the second of two profiles of advanced dental therapists who are expanding access to care at Apple Tree. This case study features Jodi’s work as part of the dental care team at our Madelia Center for Dental Health located within the Madelia Hospital in rural southern Minnesota.

Read Jodi Hager’s Case Study.

Jodi’s case study illustrates that her work is fulfilling the role envisioned by Minnesota’s dental therapy legislation.  By providing access to restorative and preventive care for public program patients of all ages, she is helping to improve access to oral health care for an underserved rural population.  Jodi has been well accepted by her patients, dentists, and other dental team members, dynamically responding to meet changing patient and practice needs.

In our clinical experience at Apple Tree, adding dental therapists as primary care clinicians has increased access to care for children and adults, extended the reach of our dentists and other team members, and reduced our staffing costs to deliver care.  Minnesota’s Medicaid reimbursement rates for dental services are among the lowest in the nation and far too few enrollees have access to timely dental care.  Finding new ways to cost-effectively extend our reach to underserved populations groups is essential.

Click here to find Heather Luebben’s case study, featuring her work at the Minnesota Veterans Home and a 2 minute video presentation.

We want to thank Heather Luebben, Jodi Hager and each of Apple Tree’s dental therapists for their leadership as pioneers, helping us accomplish our mission to improve the oral health of all people, including those with special access needs who face barriers to care.  Our Research Team would like to thank the Pew Charitable Trusts for providing funding to support these case studies.

Apple Tree’s Research Team:
-Barbara Smith, RDH, MPH, PhD, Research Director
-Michael Helgeson, DDS, Chief Executive Officer
-Deborah Jacobi, RDH, MA, Policy Director
-Brenda Prosa, Information Systems Director
-Mark Jurkovich, DDS, MBA, MSI, Research Consultant

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