BCBSNC Foundation Provides Uninsured and Low Income North Carolinians Access to Quality Dental Care

Published:
May 6, 2010

Contact: Kimberley Colvin, (919) 765-3005

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BCBSNC Foundation Provides Uninsured and Low Income North Carolinians Access to Quality Dental Care

Grant Provides Dental X-ray Bus that will Travel the State

Chapel Hill, N.C. – The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) Foundation today announced a grant that will help provide uninsured and low income North Carolinians access to quality dental care. The three-year, $610,000 grant, provided to the North Carolina Dental Health Fund of the North Carolina Dental Society, supports a new dental X-ray bus to travel across the state and offer dental care to more than 6,000 North Carolinians each year. The bus stopped in Hickory for the official announcement, highlighting a region of the state it will travel to three times this summer to help provide care.

More than 1 million adults and children in North Carolina have limited or no access to dental care, according to Missions of Mercy, a portable free dental program sponsored by the North Carolina Dental Health Fund. The dental X-ray bus will support Missions of Mercy free dental clinics throughout the state by providing X-rays – a critical part of routine dental care – for uninsured or low income patients. The new dental X-ray bus houses four digital X-ray machines and helps dentists provide more efficient and effective diagnosis and a higher quality of care.

“Routine dental care is so important, not just for dental health, but for a person’s overall health,” said Brad Wilson, chairman of the BCBSNC Foundation. “Dental screenings can detect diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.”

“Supporting the NC Dental Health Fund and Missions of Mercy fits well with everything the BCBSNC Foundation stands for – increasing access, prevention, community service and our focus on improving the health and well-being of all North Carolinians,” said Kathy Higgins, the foundation’s president.

The dental X-ray bus will be staffed by volunteer dental professionals and community volunteers as it provides care to patients at Missions of Mercy dental clinics throughout the state. These two-day mass clinics are expected to see 6,000 patients and provide more than $1.8 million in care this year.

“Our top priority is to provide access to dental care for as many people as possible,” said Dr. Alec Parker, executive director of the North Carolina Dental Society. “The new dental X-ray bus gives us the opportunity to help at least a thousand additional patients this year, and just as importantly, provide a higher quality of care.”

The bus will travel to Missions of Mercy clinics throughout the state making stops in Sylva, Sparta, Washington, Asheville, Gastonia, Kill Devil Hills and Greensboro through the end of the year. For more details about each stop, please visit the Missions of Mercy Web site.


About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation is a separate, independent, nonprofit Foundation dedicated to improving the health and well-being of North Carolinians. The Foundation's focus areas include: Health of Vulnerable Populations - improving health outcomes of populations served by safety net organizations; Healthy Active Communities - increasing physical activity and encouraging healthy eating habits; and Community Impact through Nonprofit Excellence - increasing the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations.  BCBSNC Foundation invests programs and services in response to grant requests and proactively creates initiatives or partners with organizations to address specific needs. It also coordinates several Signature Programs, among them, the Be Active Kids® and Healthy Community Institute for Nonprofit Excellence.  More information is available at www.bcbsncfoundation.org.


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