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Exploring: Indigent Care

“The hugs and sincere thanks are rewards in themselves for the care we provide.�

Indigent Why it is good for the Profession as well as the communities we serve. By Richard A. Weinman, DMD I think almost every dentist who volunteers to care for the indigent does so for the same reasons. We want to help others who are less fortunate. We want to give back to our communities some of the blessings that a dental career has bestowed on us. The hugs and sincere thanks are rewards in themselves for the care we provide. What you may not realize is that you are also providing a service to the profession as well. Our Georgia Legislature is tasked each year to fund dental care for those who cannot afford it. Some legislators feel because we make a good living that the dentists should carry the burden of providing this care. They may not always be aware of how much care is donated by dentists each year. The Georgia Dental Association gathers information from its members about how much dental care is donated by its members. The GDA also identifies all the different clinics that are in operation providing free or discounted care. This information has been given to our legislators by our many volunteers at the Capitol to let them know that we are doing our share. However, charity is not a health care system. We need the help of the state if we want to provide care to the neediest children and the disabled. The GDA is developing its 150 Faces Program this year in concert with the 150 year celebration. This program documents the care given to 150 patients by our

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members in a form that will be given to all our legislators. It is our hope that with enough information the legislature will be persuaded to fund a program that will allow dentists to participate and properly target those that are most in need. Your volunteer service to the community helps the individuals you treat and helps to shape government policy that will affect how you practice in the future. I want to personally thank all of you who provide care to the needy and encourage any of you who are not providing charitable care to consider starting. You can provide care in your own office or volunteer to serve at the many clinics around the state. The personal rewards are many and you help the entire profession. **Dr. Weinman, an Atlanta native, maintains a general dentistry practice in Atlanta with his wife, Dr. Rebecca Weinman, and Dr. Jason Myerson. Dr. Weinman has served as Chairman of the Georgia Dental Association Political Action Committee, member of the Legislative Strategy Council, member of the Governmental Affairs Committee, and was President of the Georgia Dental Association in 2005-06. He has served as a dental volunteer at the Ben Massell Dental Clinic since 1977, and is a member of the clinic’s Executive Council.

Dental Explorer | First Quarter 2009

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Indigent Care