Maine Dental Association
Incorporated in 1867, the Maine Dental Association (MDA) is a professional membership organization of licensed dentists whose object is “to provide representation, information and other services for the dentist members and, through the dentist members, promote the health and welfare of the people of the State of Maine.”
Aggressive models seek to reduce ED visits caused by dental pain
By NANCY FRAZIER O'BRIEN
Dentists on ER call
Another model favored by the ADA is based on the volunteer network of dentists and oral surgeons who are helping to cut down return dental-related ED visits to all of Maine's 33 hospitals.
At St. Mary's Regional Medical Center in Lewiston, Maine, a member of Covenant Health Systems, oral surgeon Dr. Bruce Gallup has been covering dental emergencies for more than 20 years. By having dental staff on call to consult with patients in the emergency room, St. Mary's can serve patients regardless of the problem they arrive with. In addition, patients admitted to the hospital who have dental problems can get the dental treatment they need while continuing their medical care.
The dental services are then provided in the dentists' offices and billed at regular rates. But Gallup and his colleagues write off those charges if the patient cannot afford to pay, he said.
Gallup recalled a hospitalized patient who had "a life-threatening illness coming from her teeth" but was able to receive treatment in his office before being sent back to the hospital for continuing care.
Through the Donated Dental Services program run by the statewide Dental Lifeline Network Maine, Gallup and his partners also open up their office once a year to provide free care to anyone who needs it. Last year, 172 volunteer dentists in Maine and 54 labs delivered nearly $306,000 in services to 107 patients. Dentists treat patients in their offices, never pay lab costs and there is no paperwork for office staff.
Providing such volunteer care, Gallup said, is "all part of the job."
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Copyright © 2014 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
The Maine Dental Association is collecting data for advocacy and awareness efforts to demonstrate the commitment of Maine dentists to provide care for those in need. Information is reported on a collective or anecdotal basis, without the use of any names.