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Georgia Senate Commends GDA Members for Removing Barriers to Care
Member dentists of the Georgia Dental Association were recognized by the Georgia Senate on February 20, 2019 for removing barriers to dental care by volunteering their services to the uninsured, and by treating patients with special needs and those with Medicaid dental insurance. Senate Resolution 210 by Senator Jeff Mullis (R-53) commended dentists of the Georgia Dental Association for their long-standing commitment and dedication to promoting good oral health for all Georgia’s citizens and for protecting the safety of their patients.
The Georgia Dental Association has been leading the way with diverse, creative solutions to addressing barriers to care through initiatives outlined in its Georgia’s Action for Dental Health plan. Initiatives include:
• Placing more dentists in rural communities-The association successfully advocated for a student loan repayment program in the state budget, making it possible for 12 dentists to practice in Georgia’s rural areas.
• Treating patients in public health clinics-Georgia Dental Association together with the Georgia Department of Public Health and The Dental College of Georgia-Augusta University, created a Dental Adjunct Professor Program, through which dental students may serve a clinical rotation treating patients in Georgia public health clinics located in rural and underserved parts of Georgia under the supervision of a Georgia Dental Association member dentist who serves as adjunct faculty for the dental school.
• Delivering charitable care through Mission of Mercy clinics-Since 2011, the Georgia Dental Association and its foundation have hosted four Georgia Mission of Mercy clinics, providing over 41,000 procedures and $6.6 million in donated care to low-income and underserved adults across the state.
• Treating elderly and medically fragile patients at no cost-The association established a statewide Donated Dental Services program in 2016 to provide free, comprehensive dental treatment and labs for Georgia adults with disabilities or who are elderly or medically fragile. The program has provided over $1.5 million in total donated dental treatment with an average value of $5,400 in donated care per patient to date.
• Providing donated dental care for children and the special needs community-In conjunction with Children’s Dental Health Month, Georgia Dental Association member dentists provide in excess of $30,000 of donated dental care and services during Give Kids a Smile Day each February to underserved children in the state. Member dentists also provide free dental health services at the Georgia Special Olympics Summer Games and Master Bowling Tournament.
• Volunteering in free and charitable dental clinics-Dentists in Georgia consistently provide millions of dollars in donated care to underserved and low-income patients by volunteering in free and charitable dental clinics throughout the state and through free treatment given in their offices.
• Combating Opioid Abuse-Developed a Prescribe with Care initiative to educate GDA member dentists on the opioid abuse epidemic in the state, which included creating and offering a continuing education course for dentists on safe and effective prescribing, administrative rule making with the Georgia Board of Dentistry requiring opioid prescriber continuing education, participation in statewide task forces, and formally endorsing the American Dental Association’s Statement on the Use of Opioid in the Treatment of Dental Pain.
Georgia’s Action for Dental Health initiatives reach every person in Georgia. The most visible component of the program is an educational campaign titled “Because I Saw My Dentist,” which promotes the importance of good oral health and motivates consumers to see their dentist regularly for better overall health. The campaign profiles real Georgians telling their stories of how finding a dental home and seeing a dentist changed their lives dramatically. To view the stories and find a dentist near you, visit www.becauseisawmydentist.com.