Alaska meets six of the eight policy benchmarks—one more than it met in 2010. The improvement is due to the state beginning reimbursement of medical care providers for preventive dental health services.
A landmark study was released in 2010, examining the Dental Health Aide Therapists (DHATs) who work for Alaska Native tribal health corporations. An evaluation of the first DHATs, who work in remote villages, found that they provide safe, competent care and are working well under the general supervision of dentists. Additionally, the study reported high rates of patient satisfaction with DHATs.1
1. “New Study Finds Alaska Dental Therapists Provide Safe, Competent and Appropriate Care,” W.K. Kellogg Foundation, October 26, 2010; http://www.wkkf.org/news/Articles/2010/10/Alaska-Dental-Therapist-Program-Study.aspx, (accessed December 3, 2010)
2. Dental Health Aide Therapists are authorized under federal law and the authority of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, not the state.