NYSDA News May 2022

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MAY 2 022

Volume 35 • Issue 2

Rising Star New York City dentist tapped by ADA to receive 10 under 10 Award, recognizing her impactful achievements since finishing dental school . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

NEWS AN OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE NEW YORK STATE DENTAL ASSOCIATION

On Guard It’s not a new warning but one that bears repeating, especially as hackers become more sophisticated: Don’t respond to an email whose origin you can’t verify . . . .4

Why Did the Implant Fail? NYU researchers find evidence of implant failure among patients who report penicillin allergy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

Editor’s Note: The following article by Dr. Shalom Benzaquen describing his humanitarian mission to Uganda received a Humanitarian Service Award from the International College of Dentists, USA Section. The award was presented to the Second District Dental Society Bulletin, which published Dr. Benzaquen’s article in August/September 2020. It is reprinted here.

Villagers from Uganda’s Kabale region came with their children to receive oral hygiene instruction from dental volunteers.

Dr. Shalom Benzaquen, on first humanitarian mission, treats patients in village school site in Kabale region.

Dental Resident Finds Way to Give Back On Humanitarian Mission to Uganda

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Shalom Benzaquen, D.M.D., B.Sc.

uring my dental education, I realized that I wanted to embark on a dental outreach mission in a foreign country, in a region with little access to dental care. I knew that I wanted to give back as a dentist in the future, as I had benefited from vital services offered within the community when my family needed it.

When I, by chance, stumbled upon the Build Your Smile Dental Foundation at a time when they were accepting applicants for their upcoming two-week trip to Uganda, I knew I had to seize this opportunity. I had never participated in an organized humanitarian trip before, let alone in a position where I could provide essential healthcare services to those in need. I did not know much about what this mission had to offer but, ultimately, it was one of the most unusual, fulfilling and life-changing experiences of my life. Nineteen volunteers took part on this trip, which occurred in January and February 2020, and was led by prosthodontist Dr. Izchak Barzilay. The group included prosthodontists, periodontists, general dentists, dental students, denturists, dental technicians, dental hygienists and dental assistants. After a 26-hour journey from CONTINUED ON PAGE 11


NYU Dental Oncology Specialist Named to ADA 10 Under 10 List GIVEN A CHOICE, Dalal Alhajji, D.D.S., is inclined to pick the more challenging option. It’s what she’s done in her professional career and what she counsels the dental students she mentors to do: “I tell them, take the difficult cases. Seek out the patients with special needs, whether it’s cancer or another disability. It will be the harder road, but it will make you a better dentist and you will be making a bigger difference in the lives of your patients.” Earlier this year, Dr. Alhajji was notified by the ADA that she had been chosen to be one of its 2022 10 Under 10 Award Winners. These are the people the ADA considers to be dentistry’s rising stars: dentists who are making an impact on the profession less than 10 years after graduating from

Dalal Alhajji

dental school. For Dr. Alhajji, a 2014 graduate of Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, being recognized as a young dentist by the ADA is, indeed, an honor, given, she said, how challenging the first few years out of dental school are. Rather than being daunted by those challenges, however, Dr. Alhajji appears to have embraced them. She is one of the few practicing dentists in the United States who completed a fellowship in dental oncology from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, in 2019. This was after she had completed an advanced education in general dentistry at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine while also earning her master of science in dentistry degree in oral medicine. Today, a faculty member in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Radiology and Medicine at NYU College of Dentistry, she is the college’s leader of dental oncology and an advocate for how personalized dental care contributes to the overall health of patients with cancer. Additionally, Dr. Alhajji supervises students across three clinics: the Patient Admissions Clinic, Oral Medicine Clinic and Oral Health Center for People with Disabilities. And she offers instruction and mentorship to students over a wide scope of dental procedures on individuals with physical, cognitive and developmental disabilities. Further strengthening her relationship with the students, she is the faculty representative on the Student Affairs Committee. z

M AY 2 022 Volume 35 • Issue 2

NEWS EDITOR

NYSDA OFFICERS

Chester J. Gary, D.D.S., J.D.

Kevin A. Henner, President James E. Galati, President-Elect Anthony M. Cuomo, Vice President Frank C. Barnashuk, Secretary-Treasurer Steven Gounardes, Speaker of the House

MANAGING EDITOR Mary Grates Stoll

ADVERTISING MANAGER Jeanne DeGuire

ART DIRECTOR Ed Stevens

NEWS

Editorial and advertising offices are at Suite 602, 20 Corporate Woods Boulevard, Albany, NY 12211-2370. Telephone (518) 465-0044. Fax (518) 465-3219. Email info@nysdental.org. Website www.nysdental.org.

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The NYSDA News (ISSN 1531684X) is published quarterly, in February, May, October and December, by the New York State Dental Association, Suite 602, 20 Corporate Woods Boulevard, Albany, NY 12211-2370. It is available in digital form only and accessible online in the members-only section of the NYSDA website, www.nysdental.org, under publications.

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A New Level of Scary A healthy dose of skepticism regarding emails urging action by you is not a bad thing.

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Robert McDermott

n Friday, April 22, the ADA fell victim to a cybersecurity incident that caused a disruption to certain systems, including Aptify and ADA email, telephone and web chat. Upon discovery, the ADA immediately responded by taking affected systems offline and commenced an investigation into the nature and scope of the disruption. At the time of this writing, there was no indication any member information and other data had been compromised; however, the investigation was still underway. The FBI and ADA recently warned that cybercriminals exploit events like the crisis in Ukraine in order to steal personal information and money. One of the most successful ways to target and succeed is through your email. While the nature of the ADA attack had not been released when this article was written, there are a couple of primary ways you can be targeted. You may be familiar with the term “phishing.” This is the general term for a broad-stroke email approach. Typically, these emails arrive in your inbox looking somewhat generic and usually without personal information about you. These emails often contain poor grammar, misspelled words and other nuances that, upon a closer look, reveal a possible threat. Spear phishing, on the other hand, takes email targeting to an entirely new level of scary. Hackers are hyper-targeting you by personalizing the content specifically to you, a group or an organization with which you might have a connection. Cyber attackers are now collecting information from across the internet and social sites about industries, professional relationships and even personal details. This level of personalization and familiar tone blur the lines of what’s real and what’s a sophisticated fake. Sometimes you may be asked to click a link or attachment, or to respond to the email. If it’s spear phishing, you’ve opened the door for malware to get into your practice management system, accounting and other important applications. CONTINUED ON PAGE 13

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Special Olympians receive oral health screenings at Special Olympics Special Smiles event in New York City.

New York City Dentist Named Clinical Director for Special Olympics Program Mina Kim, D.D.S., New York County Dental Society President-Elect, has been appointed clinical director for Special Olympics Special Smiles, responsible for setting up and running oral health screenings of athletes participating in the Special Olympics. Dr. Kim’s selection was based in part on her past involvement with Special Olympics. The New York City dentist previously volunteered to assist at hockey tournaments held at the Javits Center in 2019 and 2021. Her participation included educating the athletes on oral health and screening, assisting with referrals to practitioners experienced in treating patients with intellectual disabilities and fabricating athletic guards. Dr. Kim recounts steps taken that led to her appointment as clinical director. They included undergoing training modules, in addition to her volunteering at events. She said her role as clinical director will entail helping to organize the dental teams. To that end, she said, she has enlisted friends with large social media following, to help spread the word and raise awareness of the Special Olympics Special Smile program. “I hope more and more of our members can volunteer with this amazing organization,” Dr. Kim said. “We can not only provide the athletes with dental education and care, we can also improve our own skills in working with different populations.” z

Mina Kim, second from right, with members of her Special Smiles team.

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Head, Neck and Oral Pathology

Do you know where to send a patient with a possible head, neck or oral pathology? Oral and maxillofacial surgeons (OMSs) are experts at evaluating, diagnosing and treating pathological conditions of the head, neck and mouth. An OMS is trained to provide both surgical and non-surgical management of such conditions. Visit MyOMS.org for more information.

MyOMS.org © 2019 American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS).

AAOMS_HNO-Cancer_8x10-875in_2019.indd 1

1/3/19 10:46 PM


How are We Doing? Newly created task force to look at all aspects of Foundation to make sure it’s meeting its objectives and fulfilling its mission properly.

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G. Kirk Gleason, D.D.S. Chair, New York State Dental Foundation

hile many of you are probably thankful that spring is finally here, I, for one, was glad for at least one last day in April to hit the ski slopes before calling it quits on the season. The winter was tough on everybody. For me, it was particularly painful due to some broken ribs. As you read this, we’re enjoying longer, warmer days that renew our collective sense of hope and promise.

And hope and promise are precisely the words that I’d use to describe the Foundation Board’s most recent meeting at the end of February, during which I announced the establishment of a task force to do a follow-up evaluation of our recently adopted Strategic Plan. This task force, which will include advisors from Dental Philanthropy Network and the New York State Council for Nonprofits, will work throughout the next several months, and present its findings and recommendations to the full Foundation Board for consideration, debate and, ultimately, adoption at our November meeting. You might question why if we just adopted a strategic plan are we revisiting it already. It’s a good question, but it has a good answer. First, with a new NYSDA Executive Director (who will become the NYSDF Secretary) expected to be hired by the fall, it is a good time for these reviews. As with any relationship an association maintains with an affiliated entity, strict financial, management and operational separation must be maintained at all times. And the IRS and Board of Regents, among others, review such relationships to ensure that a foundation does not become a mere instrument of the sister/parent association. The recommendations that the NYSDF Board will eventually vote on later this year will help ensure that trustees, staff and volunteers understand all aspects of the Foundation’s work. Secondly, no matter how seasoned the members of a board may be, things happen. Let’s face it. These are busy people, and they wear many hats. Conducting a review such as the one I’ve proposed allows everybody to look with fresh eyes not just at all the things the Foundation does, but at how it does them. We are constantly looking at ways to streamline our expenses and work better, but are we as effective as we could be? Are there synergies or partnerships that we’re missing or that we should consider investing in? How can we better do our mission, which, after all, is to improve the oral health of all New Yorkers. While the NYS Dental Foundation is free of membership organizational concerns, it would never be prudent for us to turn a blind eye to the concerns of the NYSDA membership. We need that membership, and we strive to support programs that make members doubly proud of their profession. That is a primary role of a professional foundation. It’s just common sense (and good stewardship) for the Foundation to perform regular reviews, while interacting with NYSDA in such a way as to strike that proverbial golden mean between biting the hand that feeds us and acquiescing to improper, imprudent or unrealistic demands.

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Patients Reporting Penicillin Allergy Less Likely to Have Successful Dental Implants Antibiotic alternatives to amoxicillin linked to increase in dental implant failure. DENTAL IMPLANTS are more than twice as likely to fail in people who report an allergy to penicillin and are given alternative antibiotics, compared to those given amoxicillin, a new study by researchers at New York University College of Dentistry shows. The study, published in “Clinical Implant Dentistry and Related Research,” is the first to examine the impact of prescribing antibiotics other than amoxicillin on dental implants. While dental implants are largely successful, a small proportion of implants fail when the jawbone does not properly integrate the implant. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including infection, smoking, or injury to the tooth. To reduce the chance of infection, many dental providers prescribe amoxicillin prior to and following implant surgery. If a patient reports an allergy to penicillin, alternative antibiotics can be prescribed. Previous studies have shown that patients with a penicillin allergy experience higher rates of dental implant failure but have not looked at which antibiotics were used. To understand the outcomes of taking different antibiotics, NYU College of Dentistry researchers reviewed the charts of patients who received dental implants, documenting which antibiotics were given and whether their dental implant was successful or failed.

WHAT THE STUDY SHOWED The sample included 838 patients—434 who reported having a penicillin allergy, as well as a random sample of 404 patients without the allergy. All patients without a penicillin allergy were given amoxicillin, while those who reported an allergy were given alternative antibiotics, including clindamycin, azithromycin, ciprofloxacin or metronidazole. The researchers found that dental implants failed in 17.1% of patients who reported a penicillin allergy, compared to 8.4% of patients without an allergy. Patients who took certain antibiotics other than amoxicillin were much less likely to have successful dental implants; the failure rate for patients taking clindamycin was 19.9% and 30.8% for azithromycin. In addition, patients with an allergy to penicillin were more likely to experience earlier failure of their dental implant (less than six months) than those without an allergy (more than 12 months).

NEWS

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Buying or Selling a Practice? E XP ER IE N C E MATTE R S

NEW YORK DONATED DENTAL SERVICES (DDS) PROGRAM

Semi-Annual Report Activities for July 1, 2021 – December 31, 2021 HIGHLIGHTS

168 patients served and $292,522 in treatment donated thus far

10 new volunteer dentists recruited

$5.75 worth of care donated for every $1 spent supporting volunteers

THE DDS PROGRAM IN ACTION

“Frank,” 68, is an Air Force veteran who lives in Manhattan. He suffers from osteoporosis, depression, anxiety, pre-diabetes, and had a small aneurysm a few years ago. In addition, many of Frank’s teeth were missing or decayed. His mouth was swollen, making eating difficult and causing constant pain.

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Unfortunately, Frank was unable to afford treatment to address his deteriorating dental health. He lost his job as a dispatcher due to the pandemic and has been unable to work since. He survives on a small Social Security benefit and unemployment and struggles to make ends meet. Though Frank is a veteran, his dental problems were not service-related so the VA did not provide treatment. Sadly, it seemed he had nowhere to turn for help. Thankfully, a team of DDS volunteers came to Frank’s aid. An oral surgeon extracted eight teeth and an endodontist donated three root canals. A prosthodontist, with help from a volunteer lab, is in the process of donating 11 crowns and upper and lower partial dentures. Thanks to this generous team, Frank has received more than $16,000 in donated care thus far. Frank commented on the life-changing impact of this amazing gift. “Words cannot capture the gratitude I have. I had given up hope on ever being able to eat anything in public without embarrassment. I had learned not to smile without covering my mouth, and it affected my confidence and employability. There was no way I could afford any dental work as I was having difficulty just managing my daily needs. I have been treated with great respect by the dentists and their staff. In just a few months the work will be done and I am extremely thankful to DDS for restoring function and a smile to my life.”

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Dental Resident continued from page 1

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Toronto, Canada, to Kabale, Uganda, we were stationed at the locale of Kigezi Healthcare Foundation (KIHEFO). Over the course of two weeks, we traveled by bus to various villages around the Kabale region and carried out our makeshift dental treatment arrangement within schools, churches and other available buildings. Aided by an onsite laboratory (for processing dentures for the most necessary cases) and fully electric dental operatory and scaling systems, we could, amazingly, offer a full range of dental services, including screenings, fluoride treatments, oral hygiene instruction, dental scaling, operative procedures, extractions, implant restorations and, even, dentures. What struck me the most about the people in this region was the extreme contrast between their way of life in their rural communities compared to ours. In a large area of Uganda, the economy relies upon subsistence agriculture, and people must live in small rural communities or villages to be able to maintain their livelihood. Ordinary aspects of everyday life that one might take for granted back home were not even an option for the people living there. These included access to clean water, restroom facilities, medical or dental care or, even, food.

Onsite laboratory for denture fabrication is located in village church.

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Dental Resident continued from page 11 -

Dr. Benzaquen, middle, second row, with Build Your Smile Dental Foundation 2020 Uganda Dental Outreach team.

For many of these people, we were the only access to dental care they had, and it was clear by the consistently large turnout of people in the villages how much they appreciated our group being there. Many would travel for miles on foot just for the opportunity to be seen for a toothache or a dental prosthesis to replace an anterior tooth that might be a major factor in their likelihood of becoming married. One noteworthy encounter I had was with a young woman who arrived at the clinic carrying a young child and asked to be seen by our dentists to resolve her dental pain. Unfortunately, she had arrived at the end of our clinic day, as we were beginning to close our facilities. She described how she had spent the day travelling with her child to reach us and the significant pain she had due to an abscessed posterior tooth. She explained to me that the nearest hospital that might possibly treat her if we didn’t was hours by foot to reach. Fortunately, I was able to find the equipment needed to make sure she could leave without pain. This encounter enabled me to truly appreciate the significant benefits our humanitarian travels have been able to offer the people of Uganda and to appreciate the access to care I am afforded in Canada and the USA. Over the course of our mission, I was fortunate to be able to make a difference in the lives of a large number of patients in a short period of time. And I was even able to deliver four denture cases to patients. What made this trip truly special were the bonds and friendships formed along our journeys in Uganda and among the team members. A strong sense of team spirit and camaraderie were felt throughout the often-arduous work and journeys we undertook. Over eight clinic days, our clinical group was responsible for 2,034 smiles, including: •

1,423 children (oral hygiene, fluoride treatments, triaged for restorations and extractions).

503 extraction patients—830 extractions performed.

105 dentures completed and delivered—282 teeth replaced.

98 hygiene and restorative treatments carried out.

6 implants restorations and one natural tooth crown inserted.

I could not be happier about my time with Build Your Smile Dental Foundation and I wish to thank Alpha Omega Montreal Chapter for the grant it provided me that made this amazing experience possible. z Shalom Benzaquen, D.M.D., B.Sc., is a prosthodontics resident at Eastman Institute for Oral Health, University of Rochester. An Ottawa, Canada, native, he graduated from McGill University in 2019 and subsequently underwent additional training as a general practice resident at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, New York City.

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A New Level continued from page 4

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently released its Q1 2022 Cybersecurity Newsletter. The OCR explains, “If an attack is successful, the attacker often will encrypt a regulated entity’s ePHI to hold it for ransom, or exfiltrate the data for future purposes, including identity theft or blackmail.”[1] Let’s dive into what you need to know to protect your practice and patients. LEARN TO SPOT THE TRICK

The goal is to get you to share things you shouldn’t, like passwords, credit card or bank information. Be cautious when you receive an email from the bank, your IT department or a vendor, for example, stating that you need to reset your password or go to a website to update information. There will likely be an urgent tone, indicating you must act quickly or there will be a negative consequence. Reach out to the sender separately to verify it really came from them. DON’T CLICK THE LINK

A quick way to see if the link is suspicious is to just hover your cursor over it. The URL should point to the site to which the email claims it will be going. If it doesn’t, or you have any doubts, alert your IT team that you think it might be a malicious email. LIMIT CYBERCRIME ACCESS POINTS

Protected Health Information should not travel in or out of your general email inbox (Gmail, Yahoo!, etc.). Those services exchange email across the public internet, which makes them more vulnerable to phishing attempts. The safest HIPAAcompliant email is transmitted across a private encrypted network in addition to each message being encrypted. If a cybercriminal can find you, they can try to scam you. One of the best steps you can take is to use a HIPAA-compliant email with a pre-verified network of providers and associates. If you need to communicate with someone outside of the verified network, you initiate the first email communication and they have to verify their identity before accessing the message. There are five required HIPAA safeguards for email. Among them are ID authentication for message accountability and transmission security, aka encryption. There are big differences between an encryption-only email for general security and a truly HIPAA-compliant email fulfilling every HIPAA security requirement. No one is inherently immune from cyberattacks. Provide ongoing staff education to prevent these types of criminals from getting in the door. Assess the security of your HIPAA-compliant email. And implement a plan to send the bulk of your emails through a truly secure HIPAA-compliant email. Recovering from an attack is much more difficult and costly than preventing it in the first place. z 1.

https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/security/guidance/cybersecurity-newsletter-first-quarter-2022/index.html

Robert McDermott is president/CEO, iCoreConnect. iCoreConnect, a NYSDA endorsed vendor, specializes in comprehensive software that speeds up workflow and increases profit for dentists. NYSDA endorses iCoreExchange encrypted, fully HIPAA-compliant email. Not one iCoreExchange email has been hacked. Ever. NYSDA members receive substantial discounts on iCoreExchange. Book a demo https://hubs.la/Q018H9Jc0, or call (888) 810-7706.

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How are We continued from page 8

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So, while it’s going to be a lot of work, it’s necessary and, ultimately, helpful and meaningful, and I look forward to sharing our progress with you. And now, as always, I welcome your input, suggestions, questions and, yes, even critiques. You who are reading this help make everything happen. We can’t do it without you. Another thing we can’t do without you is celebrate the contributions that have been made by scores of organizations in New York State, whose shared mission to improve the oral health of all New Yorkers has been aided by the generosity of the New York State Dental Foundation. We are doing this during the upcoming meeting of the NYSDA House of Delegates, at a brunch to be held Friday, June 10, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. The theme for the brunch is “Champions for Change.” We will highlight the work being done every day, throughout the year, to benefit the overall health and well-being of our most vulnerable populations. Your Foundation is proud to have been able to play a part in helping to bring together programs, funders, stakeholders and advocates, all for the shared purpose of optimal oral health. Please join us. I hope to see you there. z

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5/3/22 7:39 AM


Patients Reporting continued from page 9 The reason why dental implants failed in patients with a penicillin allergy is unknown, the researchers write. It could be attributed to several factors, including reactions to the material used in implants or inefficacy of the alternative antibiotics.

ARE PENICILLIN ALLERGIES REAL? However, research shows that penicillin allergies are overreported—90% of people who say they have penicillin allergies are not truly allergic to penicillin after testing. As a result, health experts recommend testing patients who report a penicillin allergy to confirm whether they are actually allergic. “If a patient’s actual allergy status is determined prior to oral surgery, we may be able to achieve more favorable outcomes by prescribing amoxicillin to those without a true allergy,” said Zahra Bagheri, D.D.S., clinical assistant professor in the Ashman Department of Periodontology and Implant Dentistry at NYU College of Dentistry and the study’s lead author. “Although a growing body of evidence—at the research level—demonstrates links between oral and systemic conditions, the population still needs to know—at the consumer level—just how connected oral conditions, like the success of dental implants, are to systemic conditions, like allergies,” said Leena Palomo, D.D.S., chair of the Ashman Department of Periodontology and Implant Dentistry. “This study highlights the importance of patients transmitting accurate, updated systemic health details to their dental care teams.” In addition to Dr. Bagheri, study authors include Nicholas Barrese, Geoffrey Rubinstein, Dina Zahedi, Malvin Janal, and Stuart Froum of NYU College of Dentistry. z

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DDS Report continued from page 10

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PROGRAM HISTORY

Pilot program started in 1997

Expanded to Greater New York City in 2003 and statewide in 2009

1,904 total patients served

$12,041,507 in total care donated by volunteers

Statewide Volunteer Network: 457 dentists (228 of whom practice in the New York City area) and 116 labs

The DDS program helps individuals with disabilities or who are elderly or medically fragile and cannot afford or otherwise access treatment for severe dental conditions. As a result of their ages or disabilities, they cannot work and depend on government assistance for health care. Medicare does not provide dental benefits, although a few recipients belong to Advantage plans that include minimum benefits for basic services. And, while New York’s Medicaid program provides dental benefits for adult recipients, patients often cannot locate dentists who accept Medicaid. And, some individuals with disabilities or who are aged or medically fragile and can work earn just over the income threshold to qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford the extensive dental care they need or dental insurance. As a result, many suffer in agonizing pain from severe dental problems and have nowhere to turn for help. New York’s DDS program is part of a national network that serves individuals in every state as well as D.C. Collectively, these programs helped over 7,900 individuals access more than $22.1 million in services during the 2020-2021 fiscal year that ended June 30th. ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Goal: To help 302 people with disabilities or who are aged or medically fragile access comprehensive treatment to remedy their dental problems. This care is estimated to cost $900,000, including $54,000 in laboratory fabrications, during the fiscal year. Six-Month Results: During the first half of the fiscal year, we served 168 patients statewide and generated $292,522 in donated treatment (including $17,555 in laboratory fabrications): •

45 patients completed their treatment plans and received $214,417 in donated care.

17 patients have not yet finished treatment yet have received $78,105 in services thus far (including one patient who received $1,735 in routine care from a volunteer dentist who donated the patient’s initial treatment and wanted to continue contributing ongoing, maintenance services).

106 patients have been referred to volunteer dentists but haven’t yet finished any treatment services.

APPLICATIONS

With 278 applicants currently on the wait list, we are only accepting new applications in some counties from individuals who need dental care to qualify for life-saving medical treatment (i.e., medically fragile) and veterans with special needs. During the first half of the fiscal year, 87 such people applied for help. The wait list includes people who applied this fiscal year as well as some who applied previously. When the wait list gets too long, staff must spend a significant amount of time processing new applications and responding to people requesting applications; time that instead could be spent referring people to dentists and coordinating services. We continually monitor the wait list and assess whether and where we can accept applications. Doing so helps the staff process applications more efficiently so they have sufficient time to refer people to the volunteers. Currently, we are only accepting applications in the following areas, with the exception of the applicants mentioned above: Delaware, Dutchess, Fulton, Genesee, Livingston, Niagara, Oneida, Oswego, Otsego, Putnam, Rensselaer, Rockland, Steuben, Ulster, Warren, Wayne, Westchester, and Wyoming. NEWS

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VOLUNTEERS

We are truly grateful to the 457 dentists and 116 dental laboratories that volunteer statewide. Of the 457 volunteer dentists, 267 are general dentists who treat the patients and identify the need for specialist and laboratory support, and the remaining 190 are specialists. Most volunteer dentists treat just one patient at a time and due to the comprehensive nature of the treatment provided, typically care for only one patient annually. Ten (10) new dentists signed up to volunteer for the DDS program during the first half of the fiscal year. Unfortunately, at the same time 15 existing volunteer dentists retired (a trend witnessed nationwide as a result of the pandemic and corroborated by the American Dental Association). And another 31 dentists chose to stop participating, primarily sharing that they have left or sold their practices or that they simply cannot donate services at this time. We have lost another 20 volunteer dentists in the first few months of 2022. Consequently, volunteer recruitment is an ongoing priority. A 12-member Leadership Council advises the program and has been focused on a variety of efforts to encourage more dentists to volunteer. The “Will You See One Vet?” recruitment campaign is ongoing during patriotic holidays as is a nationwide volunteer recruitment initiative that includes print materials and a public service announcement featuring DLN National Board member and nationally-recognized prosthodontist and dental educator, Dr. Gordon Christensen. Also, we continued to work with Avesis, a Guardian Life Insurance company, to recruit new volunteers that are part of its provider network in Illinois and throughout the country. In addition, many dental laboratories also help. Along with the 116 labs physically located in New York, five additional out-of-state labs also donated services for New York DDS patients during the first half of the fiscal year. We truly appreciate the generous efforts of all of our volunteers. STAFFING

The Case Managers/Coordinators determine applicant eligibility, link patients with nearby volunteer dentists, monitor patient progress, and arrange laboratory services and the help of specialists as necessary. Most importantly, they resolve any problems that may interfere with care and ensure all parties have a positive experience. In the past, we had enough funds for 46 hours per week of Case Manager/Coordinator time. Funding challenges in recent years forced us to reduce staff hours and Ms. Madeline Lebron had been solely coordinating services for just 24 hours per week. Fortunately, generous grant funding enabled us to increase hours back to 46 per week this fiscal year. FINANCIAL INFORMATION

During the first half of the fiscal year, volunteers donated $5.75 in care for every dollar spent supporting contributed services! While the volunteer dentists and many of the dental laboratories donate their services, we must raise funds to cover the expenses of supporting their efforts, such as the cost of the DDS Case Managers/Coordinators. Other expenses include lab reimbursements when we cannot find labs to donate, office supplies, etc. We are truly grateful for the support of the following organizations: The H. van Ameringen Foundation Avesis, a Guardian Life Insurance Company Mother Cabrini Health Foundation In September, we began a partnership with the Mayor of New York City’s Fund through the New York City Department of Veterans’ Services. The partnership, referred to as the “Stars and Smiles Program,” is enabling the DDS program to help veterans with specials needs living in the five boroughs of New York City. z

NEWS

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