November 10, 2021
by NYU College of Dentistry
Funding Will Provide Access to Dental Care for New York-Area Veterans
New York University College of Dentistry (NYU Dentistry) has received a significant grant from United Concordia Dental Charitable Fund in support of its Veterans Oral Care Access Resource (VOCARE).
VOCARE is part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) pilot program, VETSmile: Connecting Veterans with Dentists in their Communities. The goal of the program is to improve Veterans’ health by increasing access to dental services for enrolled Veterans who are not eligible for dental services through the VA. The VA selected NYU Dentistry to implement the pilot program, which began July 1, 2021, in partnership with the VA New York Harbor Healthcare System. The VA New York Harbor Healthcare System refers eligible Veterans to the VOCARE program at NYU Dentistry.
The United Concordia Dental Charitable Fund grant will enable NYU Dentistry to support access to care for Veterans enrolled in the VOCARE program.
“This visionary grant from the United Concordia Dental Charitable Fund will help to bridge the gap in Veterans’ access to continuous, accessible, and affordable oral care, which is crucial to their overall well-being,” said Charles N. Bertolami, Herman Robert Fox Dean of NYU Dentistry. “It is a wonderful example of the fund’s commitment to serve the healthcare needs of the community, including populations like our Veterans that face barriers to receiving care. We are honored by the Fund’s support and we look forward to a long and productive relationship on behalf of our Veterans.”
Michael O’Connor, executive vice dean of NYU Dentistry and director of the VOCARE project, added, “United Concordia Dental Charitable Fund is to be congratulated for playing such a vital role in helping to provide Veterans with a ‘dental home’ in an effort to improve their overall health and quality of life and reduce the need for emergency dental care in hospitals.”
“The VETSmile/VOCARE pilot program embodies what the United Concordia Dental Charitable Fund is really all about—investing in programs that focus on equal access to dental care and oral health equity,” said Donna Hunter, vice president of strategic business development at United Concordia Dental. “We are pleased to partner with NYU Dentistry in this important effort to connect thousands of Veterans with affordable, quality dental care.”
The VA provides dental services on an annual basis to about eight percent of the Veterans who are enrolled in the VA healthcare system. The VETSmile/VOCARE pilot program will address this gap by expanding Veterans’ access to comprehensive quality treatment at NYU Dentistry in Manhattan and at NYU Dentistry Brooklyn Patient Care.
From July 1, 2021, when the VOCARE program began, through November 5, 2021, 538 veterans have been referred to NYU Dentistry by the VA New York Harbor Healthcare System; 394 patients have been seen; and approximately 2,000 procedures have been completed. NYU Dentistry expects to provide 5,000 Veteran patient visits in the first year of the program with a goal of providing between 6,000 and 7,500 patient visits in future years.
About NYU College of Dentistry
Founded in 1865, New York University College of Dentistry (NYU Dentistry) is the third oldest and the largest dental school in the US, educating nearly 10 percent of all dentists. NYU Dentistry has a significant global reach with a highly diverse student body. Visit http://dental.nyu.edu for more.
About United Concordia Dental
United Concordia Dental is a leading national dental solutions partner focused on delivering high-quality, cost-effective dental care. Headquartered in Harrisburg, Pa., the company has over 9.1 million members, one of the nation’s largest dentist networks, an AM Best “A” (Excellent) rating and has licensed entities in all 50 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico. United Concordia is committed to providing remarkable experiences to our customers, with a focus on enhancing their total health. The United Concordia Dental Charitable Fund operates as a fund of the Highmark Foundation. For more information about United Concordia, visit UnitedConcordia.com.