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DDS to Pass $10M Mark This Year: Need for Volunteers Still Significant


by MIKE BERRY, DDS • MDA PRESIDENT A


t the 2008 House of Delegates, I was asked to serve on the Leader- ship Council of the Missouri Donated


Dental Services (DDS), a program of the Dental Lifeline Network (DLN). I wasn’t a volunteer at the time, so I quickly signed up. It was a great choice. Since then, we have seen two-three patients in need, per year. The patients are thoroughly screened by Mary Jo Henke, our state coordinator. Most of the patients are down and out with other health problems to prevent them from seeking care.


Since Missouri became a participating state in 1999, millions of dollars in care have been provided, and this year we will pass the $10 Million mark! This is really something to be proud of, but we still need more volunteers.


Missouri has 379 volunteer dentists and 89 participating labs. We need more. Are you willing to join us? There currently are 216 patients on a lengthy waiting list. Due to this, DDS is accepting applications only in the counties of Audrain, Boone, Caldwell, Cape Girardeau, Christian, Cole, Greene, Howell, Livingston, Marion, Miller, Nodaway, Perry, Platte, Putnam, Randolph, Ray, Saline, Scot- land and Taney. All other counties are closed, except to veterans and medically compro- mised patients.


A few years ago, our state program was in danger of losing funding. With the help of Representative David Wood, we were able to get a $90,00 line item in the budget. It has remained since, and this year, it has been included in a departmental budget. This is a huge step for us because there is such a need in our state.


There are so many heart-warming stories of patients for which we provide care. With very few exceptions over the years, the patients are so grateful and say we changed their lives. Most see improved health and self-esteem. It’s such an awesome feeling to see this.


Many of you reading this already are vol- unteers. For that, we thank you. For those who aren’t, volunteering is easy and pa- tient care is provided in your office. Visit DentalLifeline.org, click on Volunteer, and fill out a short form. DLN will then match you with a prescreened patient and will coordi- nate lab and specialty referrals with other like-minded volunteers. Many of you already participate regularly in MOMOM, so I know the compassion is there. Join us—you won’t be sorry!


There are many patients in need of our care, and it really makes a huge difference in their lives. See one patient for a consultation and decide if you want to continue. f


modental.org/connect


If you have questions about being a participating dentist in the DDS program, you may contact Dr. Berry at president@ modental.org or 660-263-1133


let’s get


social


ISSUE 2 | MAR/APR 2020 | focus 33


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