Governor Janet Mills announced Tuesday, April 20 the formation of the Maine Veterans’ Dental Network in partnership with Northeast Delta Dental, participating dental clinics, and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC). The network will provide dental services to Maine’s veterans who otherwise could not afford them and will officially launch on May 15.
The Maine Veterans’ Dental Network is the result of a $35,000 grant for veterans from Northeast Delta Dental, which has been divided among participating clinics and FQHCs. Services will be provided on a first-come first-serve basis and will be available until funding runs out.
“The partnership will provide vital dental services to veterans across Maine, supporting their overall health and wellbeing,” said Governor Janet Mills. “It is another step forward in our commitment to serving and honoring Maine veterans. I am truly grateful to Northeast Delta Dental for their generosity and to all the participating dental clinics, without which this program would not be possible.”
Working with community partners, the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services (MBVS) is creating a state-wide referral system to the clinics and will assist with connection to them. Any veteran who is not 100 percent service-connected to the VA, doesn’t have dental insurance, and cannot afford to pay for dental care out of pocket, may contact the list of dental clinics or FQHCs below to enroll in the program. Wabanaki Tribal Health Centers not offering dental services in-house may also refer their veteran dental patients to the clinic or FQHC nearest to their community.
The eight participating dental clinics include: Community Dental (Biddeford, Farmington, Lewiston, Monson, Portland, and Rumford); Lincoln County Dental (Wiscasset); Kennebec Valley Family Dentistry (Augusta); Waterville Community Dental (Waterville); UNE Dental Clinic (Portland); UMA Dental Clinic (Bangor); Eastport Health Care (Eastport), and Fish River Rural Health (Madawaska, Fort Kent, and Eagle Lake). These eight participating dental clinics can provide the following services under the grant: preventative, diagnostic, restorative, oral surgery, and major restorative. Services not provided under the grant include: dental implants, orthodontics, fixed bridges, telehealth or PPE charges.
“It is clear that the state’s dental clinics are uniquely qualified to identify the veterans in their communities who most need access to oral health services,” stated Sarah Sherman, MBVS Director of Strategic Partnerships, “We are very hopeful that once a foundation is created for this program it will continue to grow.”
To receive dental services, veterans must fill out a State of Maine Request Form, provide a copy of their DD-214 (discharge papers), and grant permission for clinics to forward the documents to MBVS for addition to their database. An Honorable or General Under Honorable discharge is required to qualify for the Maine Veterans’ Dental Network program. Veterans who don’t qualify due to their type of discharge, can work with the clinic to arrange another means of access to care. If the veteran doesn’t have a copy of their DD-214, MBVS can help them acquire one by submitting the State of Maine Request Form as found on their website - https://www.maine.gov/veterans/forms/index.html
MBVS also oversees the Veterans’ Emergency Financial Assistance Program (VEFAP) for the State of Maine, which provides up to a $2,000 grant for veterans who have an emergency financial need and qualify for the program. Veterans who do not have the financial means to pay for a necessary and emergent dental procedure may apply for these funds. VEFAP can be utilized in addition to the Maine Veterans’ Dental Network grant funding for a veteran who qualifies and needs additional dental care, which can be especially helpful if the ear-marked fund is running low and/or the veteran has a more complex dental issue. VEFAP link - https://www.maine.gov/veterans/benefits/tax-finance-benefits/vefa.html
MBVS Director David Richmond noted, “There has been a long-standing need to provide dental services to Maine veterans who cannot afford to pay for them out of pocket. It is with invested research and great pride that we kick off this inaugural program. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank the clinics who participated in the Bureau’s needs assessment which ultimately led us to this solution and to Northeast Delta Dental’s President & CEO, Tom Raffio, and Chief Dental Officer, Dr. Mitch Couret for their encouragement and mentorship in building the program. This wouldn’t have been possible without their generosity and we greatly appreciate it.”
For more information or to access the Maine Veterans’ Dental Network, please contact Sarah Sherman at 207-430-5816 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.