Aetna (NYSE: AET) today announced the results of an analysis of the Aetna Dental Medical Integration (DMI) program. Since 2007, over 930,000 people participated in the DMI program and Aetna sent 652,000 educational mailings. In addition, dental care coordinators made over 250,000 follow up phone calls to members who have not had a recent dental visit. As a result of Aetna's proactive outreach, 56 percent of people who received information from the DMI program sought dental care. The analysis also showed that DMI members with access to regular dental care had better control of their diabetes including more regulated blood glucose levels.

"Approximately 65 percent of the US population has periodontal disease. The prevalence of periodontal disease increases to 90 percent in individuals with a chronic condition like diabetes," said Mary Lee Conicella, DMD, Chief Dental Officer for Aetna Dental. "The scientific literature clearly shows the association between oral health and good overall health. The DMI program helps find ways to connect the two by educating patients and providing information and resources to help people get the care they need."

Aetna's DMI program is available to people with Aetna dental and medical coverage and uses sophisticated technology to identify members who have not had a recent dental visit that are pregnant, or have chronic conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease, including kidney or vision problems or hypertension. Aetna reaches out to members by mail and through phone calls to make people aware of how gum disease may impact their medical condition. Members who enroll in the DMI program receive one additional free cleaning at the dentist and access to certain periodontal treatments covered at 100 percent with no deductibles or coinsurance.

Aetna Dental sponsored a symposium on the connection between chronic disease and oral health called Diabetes and Oral Disease: Implications for Health Professionals on May 4, 2011 at the New York Academy of the Sciences in New York, NY.