Delta Dental of Arizona has partnered with Neighborhood Outreach Access to Health (NOAH) and HonorHealth Foundation to fund expert emergency dental treatment at NOAH for uninsured patients who visit HonorHealth emergency departments with dental issues. The new Delta Dental of Arizona Dental Connect program is made possible by a $525,000 donation by Delta Dental of Arizona (DDAZ). 

“Patients experiencing a dental crisis usually come to the emergency department as a last resort, and with at least one – and usually more – dental issues. These issues can be causing severe pain, impacting other areas of a patient’s health, and probably interfering with their day-to-day life,” says Wendy Armendariz, NOAH chief executive officer. “Through Dental Connect, when an uninsured patient checks into an HonorHealth emergency room and presents with a dental emergency, facial pain or other related oral health issue, he or she will be referred to the appropriate NOAH dental staff member for care.” 

According to Armendariz, NOAH will then set a virtual triage appointment for the patient with a dentist, typically within 24 hours. After the triage appointment, NOAH will schedule the appointment at one of its four local dental clinics (Cholla Health Center, Desert Mission Health Center, Palomino Health Center and Heuser Pediatric Dental) to begin the emergency dental work. Because transportation can keep some people from receiving the care they need, DDAZ will also fund transportation costs for Dental Connect patients. 

Goals of the Dental Connect program are to:

• Lower dental-related visits and re-visits at five Maricopa County HonorHealth emergency departments (HonorHealth Shea, HonorHealth Osborn, John C. Lincoln Hospital, HonorHealth Deer Valley and HonorHealth Sonoran Crossing);

• Proactively address the opioid crisis by managing dental issues early, thus decreasing patients’ need for opioids to manage pain of untreated dental issues;

• Increase the number of patients with a regular dental home thanks to NOAH; and

• Improve the overall health in the community through effective oral care.

“As a non-profit, community-based hospital system, HonorHealth depends upon donations from companies and individuals. This gift not only helps us provide exceptional care, it drives healthcare transformation by bringing services together to help people when they need it most,” says Jared Langkilde, president and CEO of the HonorHealth Foundation. “Delta Dental of Arizona has been a generous donor and partner to HonorHealth Foundation. The impact of their gift touches the very heart of our mission to advance health and wellbeing for all.” 

“Delta Dental of Arizona, NOAH and HonorHealth are working together so that uninsured patients with dental emergencies are addressed quickly and with the highest level of care,” says Allan Allford, DDAZ president and chief executive officer. “Our driving force is to improve lives by promoting optimal oral health. By partnering with such likeminded healthcare leaders, we continue to make strides toward this vision, especially as it relates to what can be a vulnerable population in our community. We are all in this together.”