What They’re Watching: Matthew Sinnott, Willamette Dental Group

Matthew Sinnott is the Senior Director of Government Affairs & Contract Management at Willamette Dental Group. He joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss dental’s role in CCO 2.0.

“It’s a little bit of a guessing game right now. I think there’s sort of the implicit assumption that we’re kind of included in the 43-policy elements [of CCO 2.0] — some more implicit than others. There’s a lot left unstated in terms of when, where, how, and to what extent. But I think when we look at social determinants of health, as long as you’re a part of the funding mechanisms of global budgets, quality metrics, and those sorts of responsibilities, I think we’re part of the conversation and therefore we can be part of the solution.

But, how do we fit in coordination of care, how do we fit in integration of care? I think there’s a longer horizon. I think the bell curve for dental is a little steeper, both because of the industry being different and carved out for so long, but also all of the thrust on behavioral health integration. There’s only so much you can do with the dollar and there’s only so much we can do with time. I think where priorities have been placed, dental is sort of after the fact. But I think you could see, four or five years from now, where the last three or four years have been all about mental health and “the system’s broken and we’ve got to do more,” I think not from a broken system standpoint, but from a CCO 3.0 or whatever that next iteration is, that you could see the oral health piece rise to that level of focality.

In and around oral health is the social determinants of health; how you do medical dental integration to sort of avoid that paradigm we seem to find ourselves stuck in of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I mean I kind of look at where we are in Oregon as a health care ecosystem, is kind of a Petri dish, in a way, where it is a little more sort of payer and market specific, but it’s not prescribed at that. I think it’s got aspirations and explicit aspirations into other market segments, whether it’s leveraging a government purchasing power, whether it’s trying to simplify the environment for health systems and providers around quality metrics or different sort of standards and expectations, I think Oregon’s ripe for the opportunity. I think where dental fits into that is big, whether it’s telehealth, whether it’s co-location, whether it’s sort of the notion of medical neighborhoods using technology as a neutralizer for boots on the ground and brick or mortar efforts.”