DentaQuest 'Recovering Our Smiles' Initiative Continues Aid for Texas Communities as Hurricane Harvey Waters Recede
Ongoing support includes raising additional funds, donating hygiene supplies, easing requirements for oral health care
Austin, Texas. (September 21, 2017) – DentaQuest today announced its plan to continue Texas relief efforts with "Recovering Our Smiles," a mission-driven initiative designed to support those affected by Hurricane Harvey as immediate disaster response turns to ongoing recovery. As a follow up to an earlier pledge, the initiative includes expedited or suspended requirements for dental care, assistance for affected dental patients and providers, ongoing philanthropy, and a platform to champion everyday local heroes making a difference in their communities.
DentaQuest, which provides Medicaid dental services in Texas, marked the beginning of this project by immediately responding to Governor Abbott’s call to action with a $1 million donation to the Rebuild Texas Fund, started by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.
"The immediate response to Hurricane Harvey from those near and far was inspiring and reminds us that community is more than our neighborhood,” said Steve Pollock, DentaQuest President and CEO. “‘Recovering Our Smiles’ will help keep the momentum going to support people long after disasters like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma leave the headlines.”
A core component of the initiative includes actions to specifically support DentaQuest members and providers as they seek dental services and assistance. Currently, the company’s Texas dental network includes more than 6,350 dental providers who serve roughly 1.7 million Texans, many of whom reside in some of the hardest hit communities. DentaQuest will continue to update key information on dentaquest.com/tx, including a list of phone numbers for quick reference during recovery efforts.
“A natural disaster of this magnitude might knock Texans down, but it will never keep us down,” said Joe Vesowate, Texas Regional Vice President. “I am inspired by our communities, members, providers, employees, and state leaders, who all have stepped up with open hearts, ready to serve and work together to provide relief and help fellow Texans recover from the storm."
Several changes listed below are also underway to ensure Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) patients get the care they need.
Relief support for members includes:
- Suspension of certain authorization requirements to expedite medically-necessary services for Medicaid and CHIP patients
- Temporary lift on the primary dental home requirement, enabling members to receive care from any dentist in the state – whether in network or not
- Member assistance to find alternative providers during storm relocation (and to switch back to their original dental home provider once they return home)
Relief support for providers includes:
- Suspension of certain pre-authorization requirements to expedite care for Medicaid and CHIP patients
- Assistance to reschedule patients and place members with other providers while offices are closed
- Flexibility to respond to dental emergencies
In addition to direct support for members and providers, DentaQuest’s leadership team made a contribution to the Houston Food Bank, which helps children, families and seniors in southeast Texas in immediate need of food, water and supplies. DentaQuest employees built and delivered more than 400 hygiene and dental kits along with 800 toothbrushes to local agencies in storm-hit areas, where access to these items may remain difficult for some time. And through DentaQuest Cares, the company’s employee volunteer program, individual staff continue to give to relief efforts with the company matching up to $100 of each donation. With this effort, DentaQuest Cares has raised roughly $5,000 for recovery efforts as of today.
“I am proud to be at the helm of a company whose employees’ give of themselves in support of others, truly living DentaQuest values,” Pollock said. “With our employees’ personal contributions, our company’s direct and matched donations to local efforts, and our ongoing community engagement, our entire company remains committed to helping Texas on this long road to recovery.”
DentaQuest, the leading oral health company in the United States and the largest in the Medicaid space, invites the Texas community to join the #RecoveringOurSmiles project on social media by sharing photos, videos and stories of actions taken to help their communities recover – or help themselves and others stay healthy.
Follow and join with #RecoveringOurSmiles on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DentaQuest, Twitter @DentaQuest, and Instagram (@Inside_DentaQuest).
Based in Boston, Mass., DentaQuest (www.dentaquest.com) is the second largest oral health company in the United States and the largest in the Medicaid space. Along with its charitable DentaQuest Foundation, its clinical DentaQuest Care Group and its educational DentaQuest Institute, its mission is to improve the oral health of all. Follow DentaQuest on Twitter @DentaQuest, Facebook at www.facebook.com/DentaQuest, Instagram @Inside_DentaQuest, and LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/DentaQuest, and subscribe to its Oral Health Matters blog at oralhealthmatters.blogspot.com.